In one corner we have a Rey Vargas vying for his 3rd title in three weight classes. In the other corner is O’Shaquie Foster a fighter many believe to be undervalued in this 130-pound division matchup. Barring a draw of course, only one man will walk away a champion from a belt that was ordered by the WBC after Shakur Stevenson was stripped failing to make the weight limit. This tripleheader is broadcasted by Showtime and will be live streaming on the app as well.
Every since O’Shaquie Foster defeated Jon Fernandez on ShoBox: The Next Generation dating back to 2018, the Houston resident has been waiting patiently for a shot. Foster fought 3 times the following year, unfortunately this will be just his 3rd outing since November 2020.
Less than 11 months ago Foster got unanimous decision over 12 rounds beating 18-0 prospect Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov. His resume is a bit light having wins over the aging veteran Miguel Roman and a nice victory by 8th round knockout of Jesus Bravo. Make no mistake about it this will be a real deal test for Foster facing Rey Vargas and vice verse this Saturday night.
The first time Rey Vargas won a title came via majority decision over Gavin McDonnell in February 2017. Quality victories over Oscar Negrete, Azat Hovahnnisyan, Tomoki Kameda, and Mark Magsayo give Vargas the clear advantage of experience. Experience isn’t everything but it sure can help in situations like this. Speaking of advantages Rey Vargas normally has a sizable reach on his foes. That won’t be the case facing a natural bigger guy who’s fought above the junior welterweight limit. This time for a change it will be Vargas who has a 70-inch reach compared to Foster’s 72. That may not seem like much but the way Vargas fights it could be a major hindrance on what he wants to accomplish.
O’Shaquie has a snappy jab and follows it up with straight right hands. He can also move fairly well and just as important Foster is able to punch accurately on the outside. He’s very capable of countering to the body/head with left hooks and can come over the top of a lazy jab with right hands. Foster is comfortable fighting off the ropes but does have a bad habit of getting caught with clean punches while pulling out of the corner. Both men have plenty of pop on their punches, to be fair will have to see it in the ring when judging Vargas’s power.
Similar to O’Shaquie, Vargas likes to throw the 1-2. At times he’ll measure with the jab and throw a right hand behind it or jab/left hook combination. Mentioning the left hook Rey really knows how to dig to the body with it. Both guys can move well however Rey uses subtle movement with less waste as far as moving just to move. And that’s where this fight will be decided. Can Rey implore that high level footwork and be able to fight at the same distance we’ve seen throughout his career? Measuring opponents and timing is Rey Vargas to a tee but will that lack of reach advantage throw off a normally technical boxer. That’s the unknown for this boxing hardcore.
It’s not like either guy will be stuck in just one-style because both have shown they can turn up the pressure or at least their punch rate. Foster being the bigger guy can’t get caught up in trying to play the part of a bully just based off size alone. If you like Foster to get his hand raised by night’s end you should most defiantly put something down. He’s a live underdog ranging anywhere from +100 to +125. By the way that number has come down a bunch this week. Don’t expect a knock-down, drag-out affair per say but with the skill level these two bring in the ring it may come down to who out thinks the other.
Vargas vs. Foster Predicion
My Official Prediction is Rey Vargas by Majority-Decision.
Side Note: Mario Barrios makes his return versus Jovaine Santiago in the co-feature. The fight that could steal the whole weekend is a battle of heavyweight prospects Lenier Pero vs. Viktor Vykhryst. I won’t be shocked to see both guys kiss the canvas before it’s comes to an end. Before the main televised portion Showtime is streaming multiple prelim type bouts on their FB/YT platforms for those interested.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio