According to an article Sunday on ProBoxingInsider.com, though he is just 24 years old, it seems Jessie Vargas has been around for ages. When he returns to the ring Oct. 11 in Las Vegas, he will be looking to move his record to an impressive 23-0, further cementing his name among the top welterweights in the world.
His opponent on that night will be Ray Narh, a serviceable, hard hitting opponent, but hardly the level of competition Vargas, and many in the boxing community would expect to see him going up against at this point. His name has been floated around previously as a potential opponent for the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez among others. And while he would relish the opportunity to establish his own greatness by fighting one of those names, so far he continues to be shut out from taking on the true elites of the division.
All that may change sooner rather than later if he dominates Nahr, and claiming a "signature" win that so far seems to be the one thing missing from his resume. While he has beaten some fairly big names like Josesito Lopez and Steve Forbes, among others, he still lacks that one standout performance in those fights to really launch his name to the forefront of the boxing public. Doing so is the likely last thing preventing him from getting the big name fight, and with it the big paycheck, that comes with such a win.
We spent some time with Jessie Vargas, watching his preparation for his showcase fight to take place the night before the Bradley vs. Marquez contest, as well as talking to him about this fight and what lays beyond. One attribute he has that is really a positive is his patience. He understands that youth is still very much on his side. Although he definitely wants to take the step up in competition, he knows that keeping focused on the task at hand now is most important, and that if he slips up looking ahead, he might make a mistake that could prevent him from ever getting that opportunity. Looking past Ray Narh now is not an option.
From his early days as part of Mayweather Promotions, to his current stint with Top Rank, all Jessie Vargas has done is win. If he continues to do so, he can't be ignored forever. Sooner or later, one of the giants of the division is going to have to give him a chance. And when he does get it, he will finally have the opportunity to prove to fans what he already believes; that he is one of the best fighters in the world. But first things first, he has to take care of Ray Narh on Oct. 11.
Should he come through that fight unscathed, it seems a natural that he should take on one of the fighters appearing in the same venue the following evening. Perhaps the loser of Bradley-Marquez would be a perfect opponent to introduce fans who already are not aware of Vargas, just who this guy is. That fight could ultimately prove if we have a new superstar and potential world champion on our hands.