Over the summer months,
welterweight contender Jessie Vargas had several choices to make, notably to his team.
He’s no longer represented by Mayweather Promotions and after his contract
expired, the Las Vegas resident of Mexican heritage elected to head to
pastures new following four years with Mayweather. Vargas first signed
with manager Cameron Dunkin who, in turn, took his client to Top Rank, of which
Dunkin says, “I’ve known Jessie for several years. I liked him back then and
when he approached me, he asked if I could help him. It was an easy decision
for me; he’s a talented guy and I think with Top Rank’s help, he can become a
star.” There certainly seems to plenty of potential. Currently, Vargas, 23, is 20-0 (9) which includes
wins over two former world champions Vivian Harris and Steve Forbes as well as
a points win over Josesito Lopez that looks all the more impressive in light of
Lopez’s win over Victor Ortiz. When asked how far he believed his charge could
go, Dunkin continued, “Right now, we have to get past [Vito] Gasparyan on the seventh
[of December], then we’ll move from
there. Maybe a few more fights and he’ll be ready for anyone.” His second fight under the stewardship of Top Rank
takes place at the Texas
Station Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada as an appetiser the night before Manny
Pacquiao-V-Juan Manuel Marquez 4.
Anson Wainwright - You
return to action on 7th December against Vito Gasparyan. What are your thoughts on
Jessie Vargas – Well, you know,
he's a prospect. He's going to come and try to prove himself and I'm here
to stop him. That’s our plan.
AW - Your last fight was on
ESPN when you beat Aaron Martinez in September. Can you tell us about that
JV - It was a
good fight; it was a very entertaining fight. My fans, they enjoyed the
fight. I think Martinez came in from the beginning, the first round, to
put pressure on me but it didn't work for him. I think he felt the power after
about the second round. I felt he was just trying to survive, make the 10
rounds, and that's what happened.
AW - After the fight, in the
lobby outside the arena at the Hard Rock Hotel where the fight took place, you
were mobbed by fans. You seem to have a very good rapport with them.
JV - It means a lot. For a
fighter like myself, I’m just so grateful that my fans, they enjoy my
fights and receive me with open hands. They wanted autographs and pictures -
which I did. It was my pleasure to do it. If I had to do it two hours after the
fight, I would do it. I'm just here to entertain them and I'm just very
grateful they are enjoying my style and fights.
AW - You have made some
changes to the personnel in your team over the summer, signing with renowned
manager Cameron Dunkin and you’ll now be promoted by Top Rank. Can you tell us
how this came about and why you decided to make these changes?
JV - Well the contract with Floyd
Mayweather Promotions was finished and we negotiated our next contract. Top
Rank were in; we negotiated and Top Rank offered me a better deal.
AW – Previously, you outpointed Steve Forbes over 10 rounds; however, it wasn’t
the most exciting of fights. What are your thoughts on the fight and the
reasons it wasn’t so exciting?
JV – I think one of my mistakes was
I should have tried to get him out of there. On occasions, I could have but I
didn’t press it. That was a mistake. It changed the momentum of the fight. I am
a young fighter; it comes with experience. I’m only 23 years old and my next
fight is going to be an action-packed fight for sure. You know, I’m known as a
fighter who comes and gives fans great fights. My fight May 5th was
more a boxing match the whole fight. It was one of my only fights - I’m not
going to lie - it wasn’t as exciting as my fans are used to seeing. All it was a
learning curve and we’ll come back stronger.
AW - In your opinion, how
far do you believe you are from fighting the very best in the world and
competing for world titles?
JV – I think we’re right around the
corner. 2013 will be my year; we will be fighting for a
title very soon.
AW - What do you think of
the current state of the welterweight division, the current champions and
JV – I think the welterweight
division is packed with great fighters. You know, we have [Juan Manuel] Marquez,
[Manny] Pacquiao; we have a lot of great fighters. We have Timothy
Bradley; now we have [Robert] Guerrero, who just became [interim]
champion. I think there’s a lot of money in this division; it’s where I want to
be. [There’s] a lot of talent and I’m one of them and I’m going to show I’m a
force to be reckoned with at 147 pounds.
AW - Of course you were with
Floyd Mayweather for several years. Could you tell us about that experience and
how it helped you?
JV – Mayweather Promotions did
a great job moving me up; I have nothing bad to say about him. Floyd is
the best fighter, pound-for-pound. You know, you learn things from watching him
train and also his dedication and how dedicated he is to the sport. There's
things you learn from him.
AW - Did the
two of you ever spar?
JV- No, I never sparred with him.
AW - You have appeared on
several big Floyd Mayweather undercards, notably his fights against Juan Manuel
Marquez, Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto. Can you tell us about
what it was like being in and around these major events and how the experience
has helped you?
JV – Well, yeah, it's definitely
nice being on the big stage. Usually, you fight at the MGM; it's such a
big stage. You get nervous; I did my first fight. After that, you get used
to it. That's something I did benefit from being on one of the
biggest cards of the year. I was happy to be a part of it. I got
used to the big stage, how to calm your nerves.
AW - You’re of Mexican
descent. Can you tell us
about your younger days?
JV – I'm from Los Angeles,
California; we moved to Las Vegas, Nevada when I was about six years old.
I've been raised here; I started boxing at the age of eight and I fell in
love with the sport. Before I started boxing, I tried a karate gym. I
didn't like it; it didn't work for me. Right away, I told my parents, “I
don't want to do Tae Kwon Do anymore,” and they took me to boxing and I never
complained ever since I was eight years old. Right now, I'm 23. I haven't
stopped boxing. I want to say I haven't had a longer break than two months if
that. Boxing has been part of my life; it's my career. My father was born
in Mexico; my mother was too. They came to the United
States to form a family. They started off having nothing to rising
up the scale to have three homes. My parents have always been there and
guided me the right way. They tried to give me as much as they could. You have
to understand, when I was younger, I didn't have everything I wanted but I
definitely did have the love and my dad was always a hard worker. My mother as
well and now I'm trying to help them out and get them out of work so they don't
have to work anymore.
AW - You were Mexico's
representative at the 2008 Olympics; however, unfortunately, you
didn't make the games because you lost in one of the qualifying tournaments. What
can you tell us about that?
JV – Well, with the
United States, I was trying out. I didn't feel there was a straight
game in the U.S. boxing team, in the U.S. Nationals. I want to say, the PAL, I
didn't like that decision at all nor did a lot of people in the United States.
In the Golden Gloves, I was in the finals; it was going to take me straight to
the box-off if I had won. That I was in the final and they gave it to him…it
was his hometown. I said, “That's it. I don't like the way the system
works here.” So I went to represent Mexico, which I thought to do
when I was a kid. It's always been on my mind, so I went to Mexico, made the
team, fought in a couple of tournaments and won them. I went to the Worlds; we
had some great matches with, like, Ukraine. Being on the Mexican team had
helped me now as a pro. Going back, when I was in the qualifiers, I lost to the
Cuban [Roniel Iglesias]. We had a great match, the Cuban went on to win bronze
at the Olympics, so it was a great match. Another time I lost to a Puerto Rican
fighter in the eliminator to go to the Olympics. Thankfully, I can say nobody
in the amateurs or pros has beaten me. When I lost, I lost great fights, so I
represented the country with pride.
AW - Could you tell us about your
amateur career and what titles or tournaments you won?
JV - I won two Golden Gloves Nationals,
a PAL National, Silver Gloves National, then I got a bronze at the PAL another
year. So I've always been at the National tournaments.
I either lost bronze or silver. [I got] gold a few times. I always made it
pretty far, about 120-20.
AW - Away from boxing, tell
us about yourself and what you like to do to relax.
JV – I'm very family-orientated; I like
to hang out with my family. I like play sports; I like to go to the lake. Me
and a couple of buddies, we have a boat, go to the movies, bowling. I try to
stay away from the strip; it's not really my scene. I do it every now and then
when I have family from out of town and they want me to show them around.
Mostly just hang around with friends away from the strip, family get-togethers
and boxing shows. I try to go to as many boxing shows as I can.
AW - What boxers did you
look up to as a youngster and who do you enjoy watching today?
JV – Julio Cesar Chavez [Snr.],
he was the one I looked up to and he was actually the one that got me into the
sport of boxing because I picked up so much just watching him. I liked what he
was doing and I wanted to do the same thing he was doing. I look up to
Sugar Ray Leonard; he was a great boxer.
AW - In closing, do you have
a message for the welterweight division?
JV – Be ready for me ‘cause I'm
coming. Whoever has a title, I’m going to go after them. Look out December 7th.