Tim Bradley and Jessie Vargas to battle for vacant WBO 147lb title
By Chris Williams: Next month’s fight between Tim Bradley (31-1-1, 12 KOs) and unbeaten WBA 140lb champ Jessie Vargas (26-0, 9 KOs) on June 27th will have the vacant WBO welterweight title on the line when the two fighters face each other at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The Bradley-Vargas fight will be televised on HBO Championship Boxing. This is the WBO 147lb title that was recently won by Floyd Mayweather Jr. off of his victory over Manny Pacquiao on May 2nd of this month at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Rather than Mayweather hold onto the belt, and deal with sanctioning fees for his subsequent fights, he vacated it so that other fighters like Bradley and Vargas can fight for the strap. The winner of the Bradley-Vargas fight in turn will likely fight Pacquiao in the future so that Pacquiao can try and recapture his WBO title that he lost in the Mayweather fight.
Bradley is ranked No.1 by the WBO, whereas Vargas is the WBA 140lb champion. It’s obviously not an ideal situation for the top contenders that the WBO has ranked at 147 Vargas to be getting a shot at the WBO 147lb title when he’s not even ranked in the top 15 in that weight class.
By Vargas being able to leap frog a division and fight for another world title, it kind of leaves the other top contenders that the WBO has ranked at welterweight in the cold. They’re not getting a shot at the vacant WBO title, and they’re going to have to wait in line.
The rules the sanctioning bodies have that allow this kind of thing probably be revisited because it sets up situations where the fighters that have other titles are given preference over regular contenders. In other words, ‘them that has gets,’ and that leaves the ‘have nots’ out in the cold.
Bradley is coming off of a 12 round draw in his last fight against Diego Chaves. That fight right there should have warranted a rematch between them instead of Bradley walking on. At the very least, Bradley should have lost some ranking in my view because he failed to win the fight. In his previous bout, Bradley lost to Pacquiao in 2014. Those back to back fights for Bradley should have knocked him down well below the #1 ranking.
Vargas hasn’t done much in his last two fights to deserve a title shot. He barely squeaked by Antonio DeMarco last November in beating him by a narrow 12 round decision. This is the same DeMarco that Adrien Broner easily beat in an 8th round knockout in 2013. Also in 2013, Vargas won a controversial 12 round decision over Anton Novikov. Many boxing fans think that Vargas should have lost that fight.
What’s interesting is that Vargas moved on rather than facing Novikov again to clear up the controversy. So what we have here is two fighters in Bradley and Vargas that have controversy surrounding their recent fights, and yet they’re both being allowed to fight for the vacant WBO welterweight title.
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