|Kevin Johnson vs. Devin Vargas: Battle of the unbeaten heavies, who remains that way?
By Benny Henderson Jr., DoghouseBoxing (May 13, 2009)
This Friday night from Harrah’s Marina Hotel Casino, in Atlantic City, NJ, ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights will showcase two unbeaten heavyweight prospects as New Jersey’s very own Kevin Johnson 21-0-1 (8) takes on his fellow fighting stable mate Ohio’s Devin Vargas 17-0 (7) in a scheduled ten round heavyweight match-up.
Johnson was scheduled to take on the rugged veteran Monte Barrett, but after Barrett pulled out due to an injury suffered during training, Vargas, who was in preparation to take on former title holder Bruce Seldon that very same night, stepped in for Barrett to battle his stable mate in ESPN’s main event.
This fight is a bit intriguing; both fighters are still in the building stage of their young careers in fighting journeyman and the usual suspects tacking on wins to their records while aiming to step up against the more elite level of competition. So the question is who exactly is stepping up in this throw down? Pretty well matched if you look at the tale of the tape, so it could be anybody’s fight to win in this shindig.
Johnson, who is known for his trash talking does utilize a very good jab as well as decent hand speed, but as his opponent, lacks the painful power that most heavyweights in the division hold sacred, as well as what the fans crave. Now before you scold me for pointing out their lack of pop, and say Johnson has stopped his last two opponent s via knock out, and both combatants tote around a few first rounds kayo victories. I will take a page from Teddy Atlas; it may not be the power, but the level of competition.
Vargas, who was the 2004 Olympic team captain for USA’s boxing squad does bring more experience to the table in comparing their amateur career. Vargas competed in about two-hundred and fifty bouts, to where Johnson had less than twenty bouts. But we all know that as a professional, Johnson has had five more fights than Vargas, and all though both have for the most part fought around the same level of competition, and both hold (UD) wins over veteran Charles Davis. Johnson does have wins over the likes of Bruce Seldon (TKO 5), Terry Smith (UD) and in only four fights into his pro career, battled to a draw against then unbeaten Timor Ibragimov. So if you break them both down, coming into this match-up, both are pretty much on the same level.
The one thing t he fight world needs is a much busier, more entertaining, and more clarified heavyweight division. The heavyweight landscape has changed, went from the majority well known’s being American fighters, to all title holders hailing from over seas. Not all, but a lot of fans are screaming for a top American heavyweight to stand out from the crowd and make a name for himself. Could either one of these two be that man? Still to young to tell, but one thing for sure somebody’s spotless record is in jeopardy. So in this Friday’s battle of the unbeaten heavies, out of Johnson vs. Vargas, who remains that way?
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