In a battle of Southern California welterweights, Timothy Bradley (31-1-1) meets Jessie Vargas (26-0) on Saturday night at StubHub Center in Carson, California, in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO welterweight belt.
Bradley enters the fight as the favorite, though he has been unsuccessful in his last two bouts. Manny Pacquiao defeated Bradley in a rematch in April 2014, and then the Palm Springs native earned a controversial split-decision draw in December against Diego Gabriel Chaves, a solid but not necessarily imposing boxer. Most experts believed that Bradley had clearly won the fight.
There may not be many more fights for Bradley. The 31-year-old is contemplating retirement, with his wife telling ESPN that she wants him to retire in two years.
"My wife and I sit down with a goal in mind of when I will possibly hang 'em up, after I finish my contract with Top Rank. Things change and goals change along the way. Things happen," Bradley said.
Vargas, who is trained by former featherweight star Erik Morales after about four years under Roger Mayweather, enters the fight with an undefeated record but against rather uninspiring opponents. Vargas' most prominent victory was a split decision win over Josesito Lopez in 2011. The 26-year-old has also gone 10 consecutive fights without a knockout.
The Los Angeles native, however, may be prime to upset Bradley. He has a 71-inch reach compared to Bradley's 69-inch reach. He is also four inches taller than Bradley, and is six years younger. But that hasn't stopped Bradley from calling out Vargas and the retired Morales, claiming he is going to "whoop [Vargas'] ass on Saturday" and adding that he will also "beat [Morales’s] behind" at a later date and at a 154-pound catch weight.
“We laughed about it,” said Vargas, about Bradley's comments. “He’s obviously, very, very intimidated.”
“I want to be strong and get a decisive win over Vargas. Like knock him out and put him to sleep," Bradley said about Vargas earlier this week.
Start Time: 9:45 p.m. EDT
TV Network: HBO
Live Stream: BoxNation
Prediction: Bradley in a unanimous decision