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Jessie Vargas close to finalizing Adrien Broner rematch

Adrien Broner Amir Khan Jessie Vargas

By Scott Gilfoid: Jessie Vargas says he’s interested in a fight against Amir ‘King’ Khan, but unfortunately, he’s close to finalizing a rematch against Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner. It’s a fight that does more for the 29-year-old Vargas’ career than a match against Khan (32-4, 20 KOs), as the Broner rematch would be a World Boxing Council 147 lb. title eliminator.

The winner of the Broner vs. Vargas II fight will face the Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter winner for the WBC welterweight title.

Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KOs) and the former four division world champion Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) fought to a controversial 12 round draw last month on April 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The judges scored it 115-113 for Broner, 114-114 and 114-114. However, most boxing fans felt that Vargas won the fight and should have been given the decision. Boxing News 24 scored it in favor of Vargas. It’s not all that surprising that Broner was given a draw, because he’s the more popular fighter of the two and the A-side.

”I believe the rematch with Broner will happen first,” Vargas said to skysports.com about a rematch with Broner happening before a fight against Khan. “There have been firm talks of a return bout since the first fight and we hope to finalize things and make an announcement very, very, soon.”

If Vargas’ management can get him hometown advantage in Las Vega, he can probably beat Broner next time. But if the second fight takes place in the East Coast, Vargas might need a knockout for him to have any chance of beating Broner. On the East coast, Broner is very hard to beat. Adrian Granados beat Broner but found himself on the receiving end of a controversial 10 round decision in Adrien’s hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio in February 2017.

On a positive note, Broner looked a lot better against Vargas than he had in his two previous fights against Mikey Garcia and Granados. Garcia beat Broner by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision last July. Broner looked like he trained hard for the fight against Vargas. Broner was in decent shape, but he didn’t throw enough punches for him to win. Broner held back in the first six rounds and appeared to lose five of the first six. Broner fought a lot better in the second half of the fight in landing some good shots. Vargas still outworked Broner, especially in the championship rounds. The fight for Vargas was only his second since losing his WBO welterweight title to Manny Pacquiao in a 12 round unanimous decision loss in November 2016. Vargas won the vacant WBO 147 lb. title in beating Sadam Ali by a 9th round knockout in March 2016.

Khan would be a good fight for Vargas, but it wouldn’t take him in the direction that he’s looking to go in. Vargas wants a title shot against the winner of the Garcia-Porter clash this summer. Fighting Khan would give Vargas a nice payday, but it wouldn’t help him get the title shot that he wants against the Porter vs. Garcia winner.

At one time, Khan was considered one of the best fighters in the welterweight division, but unfortunately a knockout loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez in 2016 derailed his career. Khan had surgery on his hand not long after his loss to Alvarez, and he decided to take two years off from boxing. It was another self-defeating move on Khan’s part, as it’s never smart to take any time off from boxing or any sport for that matter. Khan came back from a 23-month layoff to defeat journeyman Phil Lo Greco by a 1st round knockout on April 21 in Liverpool, England.

Khan’s promoter Eddie Hearn called Lo Greco a “gatekeeper” level fighter, but in truth, he’s a journeyman and not particularly good one. Some of Khan’s arguably more naïve boxing fans saw his victory over Lo Greco and immediately started suggesting that Amir take on IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence. Many of Khan’s boxing fans believe that he can beat Spence. It just shows you how gullible the boxing public is. They see a mismatch, and they extrapolate from there to assume that a fighter can beat a world champion. At this point, Khan would likely be over his head fighting bottom feeder level welterweights.

Anyone with any kind of a punch would have an excellent chance of beating Khan. However, Vargas isn’t a puncher, and that’s likely why Khan’s promoter Eddie Hearn is so keen in making that fight. Vargas can be out-boxed, and Khan would have a decent chance of beating him if he didn’t gas out against him like he did in his fights against Canelo Alvarez and Chris Algieri. I think Khan is a 6-round fighter at his stage in his career. He’s been out of the ring, fighting as a part-time guy for so many years, I don’t think it’s possible for him to ever get his stamina back. That’s how it goes in boxing. Once you let up and become a part-time fighter, you’re never the same. Khan has turned into a jet-setter traveler in the last six years, and he appears have lost interest in the sport. Khan hasn’t treated his career the same since his losses to Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson.

“I’m open to facing Khan. If my team are interested then I’m interested and we can make it happen,” Vargas said to Sky Sports.

Vargas would be a very tough fight for Khan, and I’m not entirely sure he would win. It would be smarter for Khan to stick to journeymen fighters for a while until he faces Kell Brook. That’s the fight that Hearn wants, and it’s the biggest payday out there for him. After Khan fights Brook, then he should start thinking about taking on welterweight contenders like Vargas. Until then, Khan needs to take safe fights against gatekeepers/journeymen fighters to help built up his fight against Brook.

Broner looks like he’s lost a lot from his game from the fighter that he was in his best years from 2008 to 2013. Broner was always a flawed fighter even in his prime. He had a controversial 10 round unanimous decision win over Daniel Ponce De Leon in March 2011. Most boxing fans thought Broner lost that fight. That was Broner’s first step up into true world class competition, and he failed. After that, Broner put together some good wins over beatable guys like Eloy Perez, Jason Litzau, Vincente Escobedo, Antonio DeMarco, Gavin Rees and Paulie Malignaggi.

Broner’s career imploded after he lost to Marcos Maidana by a 12 round unanimous decision in December 2013. Maidana knocked Broner down twice in the process of beating him and taking his World Boxing Association welterweight title that he’d won against Malignaggi. Broner subsequently suffered losses to Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia. The only way Broner is going to be able to save his career is for him to go back down to super featherweight to campaign in that weight class, but he’s not going to do that. There’s no money in that weight class, and I don’t think he can make the weight without hurting himself. Broner barely makes weight at 140. To lose another 10 lbs. at this point would likely leave Broner an emaciated physical wreck for his fights. Broner has been eating too well and living too good in between fights for a number of years, and I don’ see him ever being able to get back down to his old weight of 130.


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