Jessie Vargas says Spence, Pacquiao and Broner fights can happen
By Dan Ambrose: With his new deal to have his bouts streamed on DAZN, Jessie Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KOs) says big fights are now possible for him against Errol Spence Jr., Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner. Vargas, 28, believes that those fighters will agree to fight him on DAZN. It looks like a hopeless pipe dream for Vargas.
Broner, Pacquiao and Spence aren’t going to likely ever agree to fight on DAZN unless Vargas wins a world title at 147, which at this point seems improbable. Those fighters aren’t going to want to play B-side to Vargas on DAZN when they have a good situation going for them on Showtime.
Vargas won a world title at 147, but only because he was facing Sadam Ali. If Vargas fights Spence and Broner, those fights will obviously end up on Showtime, not DAZN. The fights might not happen at all period if Vargas and Hearn insist on them taking place on DAZN. Broner and Spence are more popular than Vargas, so there’s no reason why they would agree to fight him on DAZN rather than on Showtime. Pacquiao’s situation is unclear. His last fight was on ESPN+, but it’s unknown which network he’ll be fighting on in the future.
In signing with Hearn, Vargas is going from being an undercard fighter on Premier Boxing Champions to that of a headliner on DAZN. While that sounds good, it’s not a great deal for DAZN if Vargas fails to increase the subscriptions to any extent. The reason why Vargas hasn’t been a headliner in the past is he’s not a big name, and he’s struggled in losses to Tim Bradley and Manny Pacquiao. Vargas looked bad in squeaking by Khabib Allakhverdiev, Antonio DeMarco and Anton Novikov. In Vargas’ last fight, he was held to a 12 round draw by Adrien Broner last April. While some boxing fans believe that Vargas deserved a win against Broner, the way that he gassed out in the second half of the fight made it impossible to see him as the winner. Broner finished strong and looked like the better fighter down the stretch. Broner is a shot fighter in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. It’s not a good thing that Vargas couldn’t dominate him the way that Mikey Garcia and Shawn Porter both did.
Vargas signed with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn this week, and he already has him headlining on October 6 against an opponent still to be determined on DAZN in Chicago, Illinois. Vargas says one option for him is former light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs), who was recently stopped in the 7th round by IBF welterweight champion Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs) last January.
It would be a major feat if Hearn was able to get Broner, Pacquiao and/or Spence to agree to fight Vargas on DAZN, because he’s not a world champion and not a huge name.
“Three, a minimum of three,” Jessie Vargas said to Thaboxingvoice about how many fights per year he’s been promised by promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing for his fights on DAZN. ”I’ll be fighting October 6th. Right after that, I come right back and fight in March or April. They’re all going to be good fights. Eddie’s working on it now. Some of the names mentioned are Lamont Peterson among other names. I’d like the rematch (Adrien Broner) for sure. I’ve asked for it, but unfortunately I haven’t heard anything back. That must mean someone doesn’t want to fight and it’s not me. We can make it happen. I expressed the importance of that fight to Eddie, and he said it’s a fight that can definitely happen,” Vargas said.
Lamont Peterson, 34, might actually beat Vargas if he brings his A-game to the fight. Peterson lost his last fight to Spence, but he was facing one of the best fighters in the welterweight division. Peterson beat Felix Diaz and David Avanesyan before that, and those guys are on the same level as Vargas in terms of talent.
”A fight against Manny Pacquiao is a fight that can happen,” Vargas said. ”There’s (Errol) Spence, all these fights can happen on DAZN. It’s a fight that we can have sooner or later. First comes October, and then we’ll push for another fight,” Vargas said.
As far as Spence fighting Vargas on DAZN, it’s not happening. Spence’s matches are televised on Showtime Boxing. He’s not going to spot Vargas out of the crowd and give him voluntary title defense. There’s no upside for Spence in defending it against Vargas, who is coming off of a poor performance against Adrien Broner in their 12 round draw last April.
Pacquiao already beat Vargas by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision in 2016. Why would he want to fight him again at this late stage in his career? Vargas is kidding himself thinking that Pacquiao would look in his direction for another fight that the boxing public would have absolutely zero interest in seeing. Pacquiao isn’t going to fight Vargas DAZN. It’s not going to happen. Pacquiao will likely fight Amir Khan. If Hearn wants to stick that fight on DAZN, then so be it. That fight at least would bring in a few subscribers.
Vargas is rated highly by the sanctioning bodies at 147, but once he fights for another world title, he’s probably going to lose. Just what Hearn does with Vargas once he absorbs another loss is the big question. Hearn is going to need to sign actual talented fighters if he wants to make his deal with DAZN work.
Hearn asking boxing fans to pay $10 per month for them to see Vargas on DAZN isn’t going to fly with many of them. Vargas is more of a gatekeeper type of welterweight, who beats the B-level fighters but then loses to the A-level guys. Fans aren’t likely going to want to pay extra money to see Vargas on an app.
With fighters now being split up fighting on different networks , DAZN, ESPN, HBO and Showtime, it could result in many great fights will end up not getting made.