Ferocious One to Make his Return in Texas
By Xavier ‘El Mago’ Cepeda, BRC (March 26, 2005) 
Photo © HoganPhotos.com
This Saturday night in the Gulf coast town of Corpus Christi (Texas), Fernando ‘El Feroz’ Vargas makes his return to the ring, after more than a one year layoff, against Raymond Joval. Joval is relatively unknown to most fight fans, as most of his experience is against European competition. 'Hallelujah' as he is nicknamed, hails from the Netherlands.

This fight is a mismatch any way that you look at it. Vargas has an excellent amateur and professional background. He has fought the best in our country and abroad since he was a teenager. He has faced fighters like De la Hoya, Trinidad, Quartey, Wright, and Marquez. The majority of all the fighters that Joval has faced were in Europe, where the competition is a generally a step below what is available in the U.S. Joval only has 15 KO’s; signaling that he probably doesn’t have much punch. Joval will most likely be what many refer to as the ‘sacrificial lamb’ for a returning Vargas.

This does not take away from the interest that most fight fans have in this fight. Many question whether or not Vargas will return refreshed. Will the layoff be like that of Tito Trinidad, a time to heal and return better than ever, or will it be the beginning of the end for a short and bright career? Judging from fan email on various websites, some Vargas supporters have written the fighter off after knockout losses to Tito Trinidad and Oscar de la Hoya, both beat Vargas in the later rounds. Losing to the likes of two future Hall of Famers should not lower Vargas’ stock, but some say the best days of 'El Feroz' have passed.

El Feroz has always been a Mexican and Mexican American icon, fighting with machismo and toughness in a sport where courage and bravery usually pay off dividends. Although Gatti carries the nickname, Vargas is the Jr. Middleweight version of the blood and guts warrior. He brings everything and the kitchen sink into the ring, and leaves it all when the fight ends. Fans get their dollars worth when they tune in to a Vargas fight, and even in his only two losses, you can’t help but applaud a man who gives 110 percent in the face of adversity.

This Saturday night is not about Joval. I do not want to take anything away from him, given that all professional boxers deserve the utmost respect for participating at a professional level in a sport so brutally difficult as pugilism, but the lights are going to be on Vargas. Will Vargas’ back problems flare? Will ring rust shine through? Is he finished at such a young age? Did his chin recover from his two losses? Good questions albeit.

What fans can be sure of is that Vargas will enter the ring as usual, ferocious and intense, displaying a natural given talent for boxing. His boxer/puncher style is beautiful to watch, but seeing his defensive head movement, expert angles from which he throws, and choices of punch combinations will make this a can't miss. I will be ringside for this event and am interested in seeing how he will look. Tune in to Braggingrightscorner.com for a post fight analysis. The fight will be televised on HBO and will also include a replay of the Pacquiao v. Morales PPV fight. Let’s not forget the prediction. Vargas by KO in 8

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