Timothy Bradley is looking to get back on track, having not won a fight in nearly two years. He’ll try to do so against Jessie Vargas on Saturday night in a bout for the WBO interim welterweight title at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Bradley enters Saturday’s fight with just one loss on his resume, and it will be the first time he steps in the ring this year. He struggled in 2014, losing his rematch to Manny Pacquiao, and fighting to a draw with Diego Chaves, though many thought he should have been named the winner.
Despite his recent struggles, Bradley has multiple wins over accomplished boxers. He got a controversial split decision victory over Pacquiao in June 2012, though he’s also beaten the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez, Ruslan Provodnikov, Joel Casamayor and Devon Alexander.
Bradley has called Vargas a good fighter, but he’s confident he’ll be victorious on Saturday in a battle of two Southern Californians.
“That’s the only thing on my mind right now is getting that title back,” Bradley said in an interview with Top Rank TV. “I ain’t worried about Jessie. I’m worried about that title. That’s my main focus. Getting that title, capturing it, getting it in my hands.”
Vargas doesn’t have as many big wins as Bradley, but he hasn’t experienced much adversity in his career. He enters the fight with a 26-0 career record, last beating Antonio DeMarco in a defense of his WBA light welterweight title. His most prominent victory was against Josesito Lopez when Lopez entered the bout with a 29-3 record.
The unbeaten boxer made a significant change a month before the fight. He switched trainers, saying goodbye to Roy Jones Jr. and deciding to prepare for Bradley under the tutelage of Erik Morales.
“I watched practically all of Erik's big fights -- the wars with Marco Antonio Barrera, the fights against Manny Pacquiao,” Vargas said in late May. “Erik always fought hard and with all his heart. That's who I want in my corner, someone who will give me everything they have to beat Bradley."
This won’t be the first fight for Vargas at 147 pounds, and he’s moved up in weight after stating how hard it was getting for him to make 140 pounds. Bradley has fought at welterweight since his first bout with Pacquiao, though he also held titles at light welterweight.
The oddsmakers agree that Bradley has the upperhand, making him a -365 favorite at Bovada.lv. Despite being undefeated, Vargas is a +275 underdog.
After Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fought to what much of the public deemed a "boring" 12 rounds, the boxing world has been treated to exciting knockouts at the hands of Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Miguel Cotto. Bradley-Vargas might put on an entertaining bout, but it’s likely to last all 12 rounds. Only 12 of Bradley’s 31 victories have come via knockout, and Vargas hasn’t knocked out an opponent in his last 10 fights.
Early Prediction: Bradley by unanimous decision