There was no brawl at the New York leg of the Fernando Vargas/Ricardo Mayorga media tour on Wednesday, but that’s only because NY Daily News writer Tim Smith kept the peace.
On July 11 in LA, Mayorga insulted Vargas, calling him “fatty,” and talked smack about his family, causing “El Feroz” to go ballistic, and take several swings at the Managuan Mauler.
Things were more peaceable in NYC at the Affinia Hotel next to Madison Square Garden, though Mayorga tried his darndest to up the ante again.
He invited Vargas to the center of the ballroom for a little pre-fight fracas, and looked like he was going to play fullback and bull through the media to make a run at Vargas. The two fighters were situated at opposite ends of the room, a good 200 feet apart, on separate stages. Tim Smith, the Daily News boxing beat man, stood firm in his seat, next to a videcam platform, so Mayorga was blocked from advancing on Vargas. That’s Smitty, a peacekeeper covering the least peaceful sport in existence. Me, I moved my chair over two feet to give Mayorga a clear path. Hey, spice up the day. And watch a fight for free, in this day and age, can’t beat it.
The two vets are getting it on for real on Sept. 8, at the Staples Center in LA, and the whole deal (which includes Kermit Cintron in action) will run on PPV ($45).
Don King emceed the NY press conference, and said that the hatred between the two hot blooded hitters is the real deal.
“They jeopardized their payday,” King said as proof that the melee in LA wasn’t staged, or to build hype heat. “This wasn’t just talking trash. I’ve never seen anything like this, we’ve got to be on alert. Our biggest job is to prevent these two from knocking each other in the head til the fight comes.”
Vargas (26-4, 22 KOs, he’s been KO’d in all four losses, twice by Mosley, once by Oscar and Tito), who turns 30 in December, says that his fight with Mayorga will be his retirement bash.
Mayorga (28-6, 23 KOs), who turns 34 in October, knows how to bring himself to a boiling point, and fire up fan interest in a bout leading up to the event.
He was in typical, combustible form in NYC, heckling Vargas from across the room, as his attorney Tony Gonzalez translated. Vargas too returned verbal volleys in Spanish, but since I’m not conversant, I mostly caught Vargas’ busts.
Mayorga tried to lure Vargas into another boilover when he said, “You better use steroids for this fight, you’re going to need it.” (Vargas tested dirty and was fined and suspended for a positive from his bout with Oscar De La Hoya in September 2002).
That barb hit home, as Vargas responded that he’d be happy to act as Mayorga’s kids’ stepdad after he does away with their daddy.
Mayorga jibed Vargas for being heavy, once again, deriding him as “gordo,” and “gorda.”
King bellowed “How long? Not long!” throughout the 3 hour affair, which was cut shorter because Vargas had a plane to catch. King busted on him mercilessly for this travel choice, causing Vargas’ manager Shelly Finkel to point out that Mayorga showed up late for the PC because he was training.
“The plane, the plane,” King yelled, in a not-great Herve Villechaize imitation.
The promoter, who is sharing duties with Kathy Duva’s Main Events, was spot on when he said, “We don’t have to sell it, the sell it themselves.” (BTW, King referred to Duva as the “Divine Miss Loveliness,” complimenting her as the most attractive promotional partner in all his years in the biz.)
The boxers posed for a quickie staredown before Vargas jetted, but there was a piece of Plexiglass between them, and a Vargas team-member had a tight clasp on his man.
Duva was ready, as she donned her son’s lacrosse helmet, but order was maintained, and no one was even jostled.
Vargas, in closing, said he’s seen fear in Mayorga’s eyes. “Men with balls, there are very few in this world,” he said. “People with big mouths, there are many in this world.”
SPEEDBAG A YouTube video of Cintron’s left hook from hell that sent Walter Matthysse to dreamland has been getting mad hits. Duva said she’s looking to make better use of that medium, and said her 24-year-old daughter has been helpful in pointing out the marketing potential there. Note to promoters: put your footage out there! It’s smarter to let people see your guy, give them a taste, rather than let your goods sit in a vault, waiting for a day when someone will pay plenty for the footage (ie Neveruary).
–Mayorga says he will KO Vargas in two rounds
–Mayorga apologized after Vargas left for his crotch-grabbing, and colorful language. “I apologize if I offended anyone in the room since I’ve been here,” he said.
–Mayorga loves King. “There’s been food on my family’s table since I signed with Don King, and I will have never ending gratitude to Don,” he said. “Thanks for getting me this bum (Vargas) to fight!”
–Cintron, who nabbed a KO win on July 14, will fight on Sept. 8. He takes on 15-5 Jesse Feliciano, who’s not a simple pushover. He holds wins over Delvin Rodriguez and Vince Phillips and drew with Alfonso Gomez in 2006. Bravo for Duva and Cintron, for maximizing the kid’s momentum, keeping his sharp and in the public eye. Smart, and not something that’s done nearly often enough.