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Vargas Mayorga on Saturday Night

Former welterweight/light middleweight champion Fernando Vargas (26-4, 22 KOs) will go up against former welterweight/light middleweight champion Ricardo Mayorga (28-6-1, 23 KOs) on Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Both fighters, unfortunately, are well past their prime, having dealt with weight issues (among other things) for the past few years. Both are coming off losses where they were stopped and looked bad during the process. Strangely enough, the bout is going to be PPV, although I’m curious who – aside from a diehard boxing fa – would want to pay to see a bout between these two fighters.

At this stage, Mayorga, 34, would appear to have a little more left than the 30 year-old Vargas, whom has slowed badly in terms of handspeed and endurance. Mayorga, for one short period in 2003, was arguably the world’s best welterweight, beating Vernon Forrest twice. However, Mayorga ballooned up in weight following the two victories and his tough lifestyle caught up to him later in the year, when he lost his WBC/WBA/IBF welterweight titles to Cory Spinks in a majority decision loss. Later, in 2004, Mayorga went up against boxing great Felix Trinidad, and was stopped in the 8th round.

Mayorga appeared not to take Trinidad’s power serious, as he dropped his gloves, inviting Trinidad to freely punch him. Trinidad, of course, obliged and promptly staggered Mayorga with two huge left hooks. Though Mayorga had an excellent victory over Michele Piccirillo in 2005, he would turn around and lose to Oscar De La Hoya in May 2006, losing a 6th round TKO. Instead of fighting slowly, and taking the ring rusty and stamina challenged De La Hoya into the later rounds, Mayorga tried to slug with him in the early rounds.

This was all De La Hoya needed, as he unloaded with a huge flurry in the 6th round, dropping Mayorga for the 10 count. If Mayorga had made it out of the round, though, he would have had an excellent chance at defeating De La Hoya, who had shot his wad in the 6th, and injured his wrist while going for the knockout. Since that bout, Mayorga has been inactive, busy trying to arrange the fight with Vargas.

For his part, Vargas, incredibly only 30, has declined badly since losing by knockout to Trinidad in 1999, and De La Hoya in 2002. Doing little after that bout, aside from beating several lesser fighters, Vargas was stopped twice by Shane Mosley in 2006 – the second bout, an embarrassing one-sided 10-round TKO loss. The second loss to Mosely highlighted Vargas’ loss of handspeed, showing how badly he had gone down hill in comparison to his former blinding speed.

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