Jessie Vargas vs. Kell Brook possible for UK in summer
By Scott Gilfoid: Well, it’s starting to look possible that Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn is going to be able to lure WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) to come over to the UK to fight IBF welterweight champion Kell “Special K” Brook (36-0, 25 KOs) in unification fight.
Vargas, 27, initially sounded dead set against the idea of fighting in Brook’s home country of England, but he’s now starting to sound like he might do it. Vargas just wants to make sure he gets fair judging and doesn’t go there and get royally robbed.
Vargas had a fight end strangely last year where he had Tim Bradley out on his feet only to have the referee end the fight 10 seconds early before he could put the coup de grace on the aging fighter.
If Vargas does come over to the UK to take the fight against the 30-year-old Brook, the fight will take place in the summer.
“Kell Brook wants it in England. I would like it in the US, but we’re trying to come to an agreement,” said Vargas to the dailymail.co.uk. “We just want to make sure everything is right at our end and everything is fair. The judges would be one of them and the purse is another matter.”
Hearn is said to have made Vargas a sizable offer to come over to the UK to fight Brook. It wouldn’t be surprising if the offer was the largest payday of Vargas’ career. He’s going to need to make a big decision because he could wind up coming over to the UK and losing his title for the payday.
If I was Vargas, I would decide whether the payday was big enough for me to want to give up my belt, because I would be very skeptical whether I would win a decision in Brook’s home country. I mean, I wouldn’t want to go into a fight against Brook thinking I had to knock him out cold in order to get a win.
I’d also want to make sure that I had a good judge working the fight in case Brook started with his nonstop clinching routine like we saw in his fight against Shawn Porter in 2014. A good referee like Jay Nady would be ideal because he doesn’t put up with clinching. Nady would nip it in the bud very quickly if Brook started clinching 10+ per round to try and stall out the fight like we saw in the Porter-Brook fight.
“I’m a defending champion as well, but he would be fighting in his hometown. I only ask that I get a fair decision,” said Vargas.
I don’t know if I would do it if I were Vargas. He might be better off telling Brook to come to the U.S if he wants the fight. If Brook and Hearn don’t want to do that, then Vargas can always defend his WBO title against the likes of Tim Bradley in a rematch or someone else from his promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank stable. Arum likes to make in house fights among his fighters, so I wouldn’t expect Vargas to fight anyone particularly good because Arum doesn’t have a lot of big names in the 140 and 147lb weight classes other than Bradley, Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol.
“We’ve made him a huge offer,” said Hearn about Vargas to skysports.com. “Adrien Broner we offered a huge amount of money to…Andre Berto had a decent win the other week, Lamont Peterson wants the fight, Robert Guerrero wants the fight. These are all solid names but we want the titles if possible so Vargas is a priority.”
I think Hearn believes that if Brook wins another world title at 147, it will increase his drawing power and make a name for him in the U.S. I hate to break this to Hearn but Vargas is pretty much invisible in the U.S. Believe me, Vargas is not well known in America. If you ask the casual boxing fans who Jessie Vargas, they’ll probably get confused with former world champion Fernando Vargas, the fighter who fought the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad many years ago.
Jessie Vargas is not a household name in the U.S. It’s a big country and it takes a long, long time to become a star over there. Brook can beat Jessie Vargas if he wants to, but I don’t see it doing much for him other than making him the new WBO paper champion. To become a star in the U.S, Brook is going to need to risk his hide by facing Errol Spence and Keith Thurman, and those are two names that Hearn has not been throwing around. Those guys are like the third rail. Hearn doesn’t ever mention those guys unless he’s specifically asked.
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