Britain’s Kell Brook holds the IBF welterweight title and America’s Jessie Vargas hold the WBO 147-pound title: together they could make up a great unification fight this summer. That’s the word according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, who reports that the respective promoters of Brook and Vargas, Eddie Hearn and Carl Moretti, met this week and spoke about the fight. The two champions are both eager for big fights and it seems the biggest obstacle in the way of making this IBF/WBO clash is the location.
Vargas, who is a former 140-pound champ who moved up to 147 and defeated Sadam Ali to win the WBO belt back in March, wants the fight to take place in Las Vegas.
“It would make for a great fight and it’s an opportunity to give the fans a great fight,” Vargas, 27-1(10) told ESPN.com. “My only concern is the location of the fight. The fight would have to be in the US. He has fought in the US before and it shouldn’t be a problem for him to accept a fight in the US. Who doesn’t want to fight in Las Vegas? He was treated fair the last time he fought here, and I feel that if I were to go fight him in the UK, they wouldn’t treat me with the same respect and it will give him an edge. I’m not planning on going out to the UK for this fight.”
As for Brook, his promoter Hearn said that “we are easy on where the fight is but our preference would be to stage it in the UK,” and “we have a lot of money for Mr. Vargas if he wants to make the fight happen.” But Vargas sounds as though he has his mind made up pretty well. Will Brook budge and agree to fight in America (he out-pointed Shawn Porter in Carson, CA in August of 2014) for a second time? Brook, 36-0(25) has fought two of his last three fights in his hometown of Sheffield and all three of his last fights in the UK – is it time he travelled for a big fight?
Vargas, who lives in Vegas, has not boxed in his home town since his WBA 140-pound title win over Khabib Allakhverdiev in August of 2014, and the 26-year-old has recently travelled to Macao, China for a fight. Maybe Vargas is more entitled to a fight at home than Brook is? It will be a shame if the two cannot agree on a location, as this is a good, solid fight. Brook recently said (or Hearn said) he “would walk to New York for a fight with Miguel Cotto.”
Vargas isn’t a legend or a massive name like Cotto, but he is a darn good fighter and a big name, the type Brook has been desperate to face for some time. Should 29-year-old Brook be prepared to head to the US a second time if that’s all that’s required to get this fight made?