By Eric Thomas: 84-year-old Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is in a hurry to turn his young 26-year-old fighter Jessie Vargas (26-1, 10 KOs) into a star. Vargas recently defeated Golden Boy promoted Sadam Ali by a 9th round knockout this month to win the vacant WBO welterweight title on March 5th. The victory for Vargas was a good one, but it did little to turn him into a huge star that the casual boxing fans recognize.
As such, Arum wants to try to match Vargas against former four division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) in a fight this summer if possible. Marquez, 42, has been sidelined with a knee injury for the past two years since 2014, and he’s talking about wanting to resume his career. If Arum could match Vargas against Marquez, it’s a fight that would attract a lot of attention from the Mexican community.
If Vargas were to win that fight, then he might be able to grab a lot of new fans depending on how well he looks in the fight. Vargas looked plenty good in battering and halting Ali this month. If Vargas can do the same thing with Marquez, then Arum might have a new star on his hands. Yeah, it would look kind of bad that Vargas used an old lion Marquez as a stepping stone to become a star, but the Top Rank promoted Manny Pacquiao did the same thing in beating an old Oscar De La Hoya by an eighth round knockout at the end of his career in 2008.
Pacquiao become a PPV star after beating De La Hoya. Whether Vargas can accomplish the same thing by beating Marquez is the big question. First of all, Arum has to line up a fight between Marquez and vargas, and that might not be all that easy to do. There’s no money in it for Marquez to fight Vargas, because he’s not a big name.
However, Arum is hoping that Marquez might go for the fight due to Vargas having the WBO welterweight title in his possession. If Marquez beats Vargas, he would win his 5th division world title. That’s something that Marquez has wanted for quite some time. He failed to accomplish that in 2011 in losing to Pacquiao and in 2013 in getting beaten by Tim Bradley.
“I’d like for Vargas to fight him,” Arum said to ESPN.com. “It would be a big name for Jessie to fight and it would give Marquez the chance at the title he wants. So we’re going to talk about it but we still don’t know for sure if Marquez will come back. But if he does, a fight with Vargas makes sense and it would be a good fight.”