With Floyd Mayweather looking to vacate his WBO welterweight championship, the title will be up for grabs on Saturday when Timothy Bradley and Jessie Vargas meet at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. While Vargas has yet to lose a fight in his professional boxing career, a loss for Bradley would be a considerable upset.
Last year wasn’t an easy one for Bradley, who fought twice and didn’t pick up one victory. He lost his rematch with Manny Pacquiao and fought to a draw with Diego Chaves, having entered the year with no losses. But despite his struggles, the boxer is confident that he’ll get the 32nd win of his career this weekend.
"He's coming into the lion's den now," Bradley said. "He's leaving the little puppies alone. He's coming up and fighting the real fighters. I'm a real fighter. I've made a name for myself in the sport by fighting the best. Now it's Jessie's turn to see if he can beat the best. That's what this fight boils down to.
"And it's my time to show the world and myself that I'm still one of the best in the game and I can beat Jessie Vargas, a young, hungry lion who is 26. When I was 26, you couldn't tell me nothing. I would have fought King Kong."
At 26-0, Vargas has yet to beat any elite competition. He topped Antonio DeMarco in a unanimous decision in November to retain his light welterweight title, and DeMarco went on to lose his next fight as well. Bradley has more impressive wins on his resume, having beaten Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez and Ruslan Provodnikov in the last three years.
But Vargas believes he’s ready for a big fight.
“Jessie Vargas by unanimous decision or a KO win,” Vargas told On The Ropes Boxing Radio when asked for a prediction. “I’m going the KO win that’s for sure, and I hope I get it. I’m very positive that it will come. Like I said earlier, I’ve never felt this strong before, I feel very strong and very comfortable. As soon as I connect him with the right punch, he will go down."
A win for Vargas by KO or TKO might be the least likely outcome, other than a draw. Going 26-0 in his career, only nine of his fights have not gone the distance, and he’s won 10 straight fights by decision.
Bradley is an odds-on favorite to win the fight by decision at -200. Bovada.lv lists the odds of a draw at +1500 and the odds of Vargas winning by KO, TKO or DQ at +1200. A Vargas win by decision (+400) is considered more likely than a Bradley knockout (+450).
Prediction: Bradley by unanimous decision