By James Slater: Fernando Vargas, last seen losing a catch weight fight with Ricardo Mayorga in 2007, will fight again this spring. The 33-year-old former IBF light-middleweight champ will meet Henry Buchanan at super-middleweight in Las Vegas on April 16th.
“El Feroz” told ESPN.com that he is “Back!” and that he will become a world champion all over again.
“I took three years off and I’m still young,” he said. “I’m excited about fighting again and I know I can win another world title.”
Reportedly, Vargas’ weight ballooned to somewhere around the 200-pound mark in retirement, but now, after some hard work in the gym, the Oxnard native is back down to 187. Can he make it in today’s talent-rich 168-pound weight division?
One plus the man who battled top names like Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Winky Wright and Sugar Shane Mosley may have is new trainer Floyd Mayweather Senior. Vargas has been working with Floyd Senior in Las Vegas and now Mayweather is hoping his new charge can score a stoppage win over the durable Buchanan.
Vargas too hopes to halt Buchanan, 20-2(13), because current super-middleweight star Andre Ward was unable to do so when he faced him. Vargas believes a stoppage win will prove he is and can be the real deal as a 168-pounder.
If he has left what he thinks he has left, Vargas might be capable of landing himself a big fight at 168-pounds once the ongoing “Super Six” is done. But other reports suggest the man Vargas really wants in Julio Cesar Chavez Junior. This fight, as intriguing as it would perhaps prove, could be a tricky one to make seeing as how Chavez has only recently moved up to middleweight and is busy for the time being. Vargas, who lost on points to Mayorga, scaled a soft-looking 164-pounds for that fight, and it’s unlikely he will be able to make 160 over three years on.
For now though, Vargas, 26-5(22) must focus on Buchanan.
As a comeback opponent, the 32-year-old is a most creditable foe for Vargas. Skilled and with a good record, the never-stopped boxer from Maryland could well upset Vargas’ plans. The loss he suffered at the hands of Ward was of the shut-out variety, but since then Buchanan has won three in a row (over limited opposition, granted). If Vargas can stop his man he will have done very well.
Vargas’ overall chances of making it back to the top may not be that great, but he hasn’t had all that many fights and the rest may have done him good. Sure, he took some hellacious punishment in the classic with “Tito” Trinidad in 2000 and he was taken out in brutal fashion by De La Hoya and Mosley (in the first of their two meetings). But against a relative non-puncher like Buchanan, the man who reigned at 154-pounds from ’98 to 2000 (and again as a WBA champ in 2001) shouldn’t be in too much danger.
Let’s see how Fernando looks on April 16th in Las Vegas before we decide how far this latest boxing comeback can go.