Hearn still wants Jessie Vargas vs. Shawn Porter
By Dan Ambrose: Eddie Hearn is still determined to match his fighter Jessie Vargas against WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter next despite the fact that Jessie fought to a 12 round draw last Saturday night against Thomas Dulorme on DAZN.
A fight that Hearn isn’t talking about wanting to make is a rematch between Vargas and Dulorme. Given how Vargas failed to show that he’s a better fighter than Dulorme, he should go back and face him again and show that he can at least beat a non-contender like him. Of course, Hearn isn’t going to make that fight because he’s paying Vargas good money per fight for his Matchroom Boxing USA/DAZN stable, and he signed him hoping he could turn him into a world champion. Vargas has failed in his last two fights to prove that he can defeat beatable opposition in Dulorme and Adrien Broner.
Hearn says Vargas (28-2-2, 10 KOs) is the highest ranking contender in the World Boxing Council’s top 10 ranking, so he should be the one getting a world title shot against Porter. Hearn believes Porter will go for the idea of fighting Vargas. It’s unclear why Hearn doesn’t want to wait until Vargas, 29, starts winning before he attempts to put him in with Porter (29-2-1, 19 KOs). Vargas’ last two fights have ended in 12 round draws against Dulorme and Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner, and a lot of people think he deserved losses in both fights.
Vargas-Dulorme was scored a 12 round draw by the scores 115-111 for Ortiz, 113-113 and 113-113. Hearn recently signed Vargas, and it doesn’t look good for the British promoter in having a fighter that can’t even beat a fighter like Dulorme (24-3-1, 16 KOs), who isn’t a contender any longer at this point in his career.
“I actually had Jessie Vargas winning by one round,” Hearn said to Behind the Ropes ”I think a draw is fair. Just the knockdown in the last round. When he [Vargas] got the first knockdown, I thought, ‘Fight won.’ Dulorme is a very high level fighter,” Hearn said.
Dulorme isn’t a high level fighter. He’s a second tier fighter, but he does show the level of guys that aren’t true top tier talents, and you can argue that Vargas isn’t a top welterweight and never was. Hearn thought he was getting a good deal when he inked Vargas to his Matchroom Boxing USA/DAZN stable, and now he’s finding out that gamble isn’t paying off.
”He’s the highest ranking contender with the WBC, and wins someone wins a vacant title, the champion has to fight his mandatory, which is the highest ranking contender, which is Jessie Vargas. We want to make Jessie Vargas vs. Shawn Porter,” Hearn said.
Hearn says the champion has to fight the highest ranking contender after they win a vacant title like Porter did in beating Danny Garcia last September to capture the vacant WBC 147 pound title. However, when Hearn’s fighter Tony Bellew won the vacant WBC cruiserweight title after beating Illunga Makabu by a 3rd round knockout in 2016, he had him fight #14 WBC BJ Flores rather than the WBC’s highest ranked contender at the time in #1 WBC Mairis Briedis. Hearn took a lot of criticism at the time for steering Bellew around his #1 contender Briedis after he won the vacant WBC cruiserweight title and having him fight cellar dweller BJ Flores. Now that one of Hearn’s fighters is the highest rated contender in the WBC’s rankings at 147 in Jessie Vargas, he feels that he should get a title shot against Porter despite him failing to win his second consecutive fight. Vargas didn’t lose the fight against Dulorme, but he didn’t win and his record in his last four fights is 1-1-2. The only guy that Vargas has beaten in the last two years is journeyman Aaron Herrera.
Since the World Boxing Council haven’t made Vargas the mandatory challenger for Porter at 147, there’s no way that the fight can made by Hearn forcing it. Vargas vs. Dulorme wasn’t a WBC eliminator fight, so it’s unlikely that Vargas will be made the mandatory challenger for Porter.
”He [Vargas] won’t be moved down the rankings because it was a draw,” Hearn said. “So he’ll still be the highest ranked contender, so I don’t see why that fight [Vargas vs. Porter can’t be made]. I think Shawn Porter will be really up for that fight. I think that fight would be a really good fight. So why not? Let’s get it done,” Hearn said about his desire to make the Porter vs. Vargas fight.
Hearn has the money to lure Porter to give Vargas a title shot in a voluntary defense if his management don’t have a better option, but I don’t think it’s a fight that will interest boxing fans that watch it on Showtime, which is where Shawn fights. I don’t see why Porter’s management would bother making a fight against a fighter coming off back to back draws in Vargas. As bad as Vargas has looked lately, there’s no upside in Porter fighting him. Porter would be facing a fighter that arguably should have lost his last two fights but was given controversial draws in each case. Fans think Vargas lost to Broner and Dulorme, but was given draws that he didn’t deserve. Porter might have a hard time getting up for a fight against someone struggling as badly as Vargas is right now. Porter might as well give Dulorme a title shot, because Vargas didn’t prove that he was better than him. Porter isn’t going to fight Dulorme. That’s definitely not happening.
Hearn says he’s made an offer to WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol to try and sign him. Inking Bivol would give Hearn a fighter that could be the top guy at 175 in the future. It’ still too early to know for sure if Bivol has the talent to beat the better fighters in the light heavyweight division like Artur Beterbiev, Eleider Alvarez, Adonis Stevenson, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Sergey Kovalev and Marcus Browne. Hearn could wind up with another Vargas if Bivol can’t cut it against the best at light heavyweight. What Bivol has going for him is his youth. He’s young enough to wait out a lot of these guys until they’re old before fighting them. It would be kind of like what Saul Canelo Alvarez id in waiting until Gennady Golovkin was 35 before facing him.
”Dmitry Bivol,” Hearn said when asked who he’s trying to sign to his Matchroom Boxing USA label for him to stream on DAZN. ”He’s a guy that we’ve made an offer for.”