It’s definitely a Senior Tour scrap.
There’s nothing Next Generation about the Fernando Vargas/Ricardo Mayorga scrap, which takes place on Sept. 8 at the Staples Center.
This is two cats at the end of the money trail, two seasoned, cagey vets, wizened in the ways of effective promotion.
They’ve delivered on that front to this point, and who knows, maybe they’ll deliver on the fistic front in three weeks.
I’m going out on my limb, now, and predicting that Vargas/Mayorga will be a crowd-pleasing, back-and-forth trading special. May I suggest a sponsorship by Dow Jones?
The two time junior middle champion Vargas, who states that this will be his farewell fight, and the combustible Mayorga, the former welterweight and junior middle titleholder, sparred on the phone for our enjoyment this week.
On to the highlights…
Vargas (26-4, 22 KOs), who’s had his chops busted by Mayorga (28-6-1, 23 KOs) for being portly, touched on this sensitive topic early on.
“I’m at 170,” he said, “and I only have to lose eight pounds. I did 10 rounds yesterday. We’ll do 12 next week and bring it down. I’m looking forward to this.”
Vargas turns 30 in December, and has been bedeviled by back woes, which has limited him to 30 pro outings since turning professional in 1997. He’s coming off two straight losses to Shane Mosley, both of the TKO variety, and it will be to his liking to have somebody with average hand speed and foot movement in front of him for his final outing before he transitions to promotion and acting work.
His foe will turn 34 in October, and has been beset by legal woes, which have at times hampered his frequency of fighting. He is 2-3 in his last five, and hasn’t been able to snag a TKO or KO since 2003 (his first fight with Vernon Forrest). He should have a puncher’s chance, as we all know Vargas has shown a suspect chin since Tito Trinidad put the hammer to him in 2000. All four of Vargas’ losses have come via the stoppage route.
Vargas thinks that he has the upper hand coming in to this one mentally, citing his “win” against the Nicaraguan during their first press conference in July in LA.
“This is my final fight. But Mayorga has added wood to the fire and is going to make it more pleasing. I got one over on him already. So I’m going to finish the rest come September 8th, because at the press conference he tried to backhand me to no avail. And that’s when I landed—the first punch I threw didn’t land. The second one landed very well. And then he tried to pull an old school trick and blind me. Then I ripped him with two left uppercuts. He had to eat that embarrassment. I got him. He didn’t want to look at me in our press conference in New York. He can’t take this heat.”
Vargas then went down memory lane for a spell, and cited his win against Winky Wright in 1999 as one of his most important wins. Why? He had to struggle to make weight, and did so on a diet of hard boiled egg whites and Nyquil. (Somehow, I don’t see ANYONE adopting this regimen to carve off some stubborn stomach flab…)
Vargas laid out his reasons for retiring, and his post-fighting career plans.
“I want to be the one that says, OK, I want to retire,” he said. “I don’t need money. I am going to concentrate on my promotional company. I just finished doing a movie, ‘Stiletto.’’’
Vargas got the ball rolling in the insult department. He said, “he’s a stupid street fighter, and I’m going to capitalize on the mistakes on September 8th. I’m going to make him apologize to my mother. When I knock him out, I’m going to make him apologize to my mother in front of the world.”
(That would be worth about $10 of the $45 PPV price…(
Vargas admitted that he realized, after his last fight with Mosley, in July 2006, that he knew it was time to walk away.
“Getting down to 154, I couldn’t do that,” he said. “That’s not me. I went to the Olympics at 147. Then shortly after that I moved to 154. I was 18 when I went to the Olympics (in 1996) and 21 when I won the world title (against Yory Boy Campos in 1998). I’ve been staying that way for 10 years. I can’t do that.”
He is looking forward to being able to indulge in whatever he wants in the eating and drinking department, he said, after so many years of limiting himself.
On that note, Mayorga got on the horn and began his razzing.
“I’m going to show you, Vargas! Hello everyone, this is Ricardo Mayorga with Don King Productions. I’m the one and you’re just a fat guy that wants to come down and fight me. I’m going to knock out that fat guy from Mexico that is Vargas,” he railed.
Mayorga said he went after Vargas’ family because the Californian started it, and said that if he wins, he’ll make Vargas apologize to his family. If he loses, he said, he’ll apologize.
Sounded to me like he’s considered the possibility of losing a bit too much…
Mayorga’s antics for this fight are not as disgusting as he’s capable of.
Remember his seriously inappropriate promise to Cory Spinks in 2003, "I will send you to heaven to join your mother (who died in 1999)?”
He has his own wing, a segregation wing apart from the rest of the facility, for his own safety, in the Sports Trash Talking Hall of Fame.
I have a sneaky suspicion, though, that El Feroz will live up to his nickname in his last outing, and will put a thumping on Mayorga, and that this could be the last outing for the both of them.