Vargas, Mayorga predicting a short night

Vargas, Mayorga predicting a short night

Vargas, Mayorga predicting a short night

Neither fighter has won for a while going into super-middleweight bout at Staples Center.

The time for taunting, teasing and trash-talking is over. Now it's time for Fernando Vargas and Ricardo Mayorga to settle things in the ring.

The two former world champions weighed in Thursday at 164 pounds for tonight's 12-round pay-per-view super-middleweight bout at Staples Center. And the afternoon weigh-in was just about the only appearance by the two fighters that didn't end with the boxers brawling with one another.

But then there has been a lot of time for bad blood to build up. The fight, which the 29-year-old Vargas has repeatedly promised will be his last, was originally scheduled for Sept. 8 but had to be postponed when internal bleeding caused the Oxnard native to lose two pints of blood over a three-week period, leaving him anemic.

"When is it going to be enough?" said Vargas, who long ago promised to retire before he turned 30, a milestone he reaches in two weeks. "When they see me with a cane going into the ring?"

He figures to get at least $5 million as a parting gift tonight -- and could make $15 million, depending on the pay-for-view numbers.

Clearly Vargas' best days are behind him. His last bout was a July 2006 loss to Shane Mosley. That was the second of two consecutive losses to Mosley for Vargas (26-4 with 22 knockouts), who hasn't won since beating Spain's Javier Castillejo in August 2005.

Nonetheless he's predicting a knockout in the first six rounds tonight.

Mayorga (27-6-1 with 22 knockouts) also lost his last fight, against Oscar De La Hoya 18 months ago, The 34-year-old Nicaraguan, who will earn about half of what Vargas gets tonight, is also expecting a short fight, predicting a victory by the third round.

www.latimes.com

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Fernando Vargas fights Ricardo Mayorga in final trip to the ring
November 22, 2007

LOS ANGELES (AP) -Finally, Fernando Vargas can forget about watching his waistline, if he so desires.

``I'm a food connoisseur. I love to eat,'' he said with a smile.

Beginning this weekend, the 29-year-old Vargas can eat to his heart's content. He plans to retire from boxing after facing Ricardo Mayorga in a 12-round super middleweight bout Friday night at Staples Center.

``Believe me, it will be my last one. I'm looking forward to it,'' Vargas said earlier this week following a news conference that featured a lot of preening and screaming between the two fighters, who exchanged punches July 11 during their first news conference.

``This is a relief,'' Vargas said of his impending retirement. ``I'd rather be promoting fighters. I wanted to retire by 30. I'm doing this two weeks before I turn 30.''

When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Vargas replied: ``A great champion that always went in there and gave it his all, who never left anything in the right. He wasn't going to give in, he wasn't going to give up - ever.''

Vargas (26-4 with 22 knockouts) became the youngest junior middleweight world champion at just 21 years, five days when he dethroned Yory Boy Campas to win the IBF title in December 1998.

Vargas, from Oxnard, Calif., hasn't fought since July 15, 2006, when he was stopped for the second time in five months by Shane Mosley. His other losses were to Felix Trinidad in 2000 and Oscar De La Hoya in 2002.

``I've been working hard since January,'' Vargas said. ``We had a postponement, but now we're back on track, feeling great.''

Originally scheduled for Sept. 8, the bout was delayed after a routine blood test revealed Vargas had an iron deficiency.

``It's been a long wait, but I think it will be very well worth it,'' said Kathy Duva from Main Events, which is co-promoting the card with Don King Productions.

The bout will be televised live by Showtime Pay-Per-View.

``This could be one of the best fights of recent memory,'' said Carl King, Mayorga's manager. ``These are two true gladiators who love to fight. There's been nothing but fireworks from day one.''

The 34-year-old Mayorga (27-6-1 with 22 knockouts), a three-time world champion from Managua, Nicaragua, hasn't fought since May 6, 2006, when he was stopped by De La Hoya. He won his first championship against then-WBA welterweight champion Andrew ``Six Heads'' Lewis in 2002.

Mayorga went on to beat Vernon Forrest twice in 2003 before losing to Cory Spinks and being stopped by Trinidad in 2004.

``Ricardo Mayorga fought his way out of the Nicaraguan barrio,'' King said. ``He talks it as he walks it, I guess you might say.''

Vargas isn't the first opponent Mayorga has infuriated, just the latest.

``Honestly, I'm going to knock him out,'' Mayorga said through a translator. ``The main reason, I really don't like him. I put a million dollars on myself in Vegas to win, and not only to win, but to knock him out.''

Mayorga said he doesn't believe the fight will go more than three rounds.

``I've been training very hard, especially for him, because I want to hit him as hard as I can hit him, more than any fighter I've fought,'' he said.

Vargas called Mayorga ``a stupid street fighter.''

``When I knock him down, I'm going to tell him to get up,'' Vargas said. ``I'm going to tell him to get up and remember what he said.''

The fight has been billed as ``The Brawl.''

Joe Percora, Vargas' business manager, said his client would earn $5 million to $8 million.

``It could be up to $15 million, it's hard to say,'' Percora added, explaining it depended on the number of pay-per-view subscribers.

``This is just an honor to be with him in his last fight,'' Percora said.

Alan Hopper, representing Don King Productions, said Mayorga will receive about 50 percent of what Vargas earns.

On the undercard, Roman Karmazin of St. Petersburg, Russia, who now lives in Los Angeles, faces Alejandro Garcia of Tijuana, Mexico, in a 12-round super welterweight bout, and Kermit Cintron of Reading, Pa., meets Jesse Feliciano of Los Angeles in a 12-round welterweight fight.

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Mayorga gets 12-round majority decision over Vargas

Knockdowns in the first and 11th rounds are enough to preserve close victory.

What began 20 years ago with an hour walk from his mother's home in south Oxnard to the La Colonia Boxing Club ended for Fernando Vargas on Friday night at Staples Center.

Only the fighter's career didn't end the way he wanted it to with Nicaragua's brash Ricardo Mayorga sending him into retirement by knocking him down twice to win a brutal 12-round brawl neither man thought would go the distance.

"Absolutely," Vargas said afterward, "this was my last fight."

And it was one he could have won, save for a 11th-round knockdown when Mayorga, a three-time world champion, caught an off-balance Vargas with a strong right, sending him to the canvas for the second time.

"I should have jabbed more," Vargas said. "He's a good fighter. Otherwise he wouldn't have been world champion. Those were flash knockdowns. I thought I won the fight.

"[But] I am not going to take anything away from Mayorga. He beat me. He was the better man tonight."

The respect appeared sincere. Although the men spent the last four months trading insults, with Mayorga challenging Vargas' manhood and Vargas retaliating by calling Mayorga "a stupid streetfighter," they shared a warm embrace at a postfight news conference in which Joe Percora, Vargas' business manager, called Mayorga "a class act."

Both boxers promised a physical fight and they delivered, delighting the Mexican-flag-waving pro-Vargas crowd by battling toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring from the opening bell.

Fighting for something called the WBC Continental Americas super-middleweight crown, Mayorga charged from his corner and immediately began pelting Vargas with a wild flurry of blows, finally knocking him to the canvas with 20 seconds left in the opening round.

An eccentric 34-year-old brawler with a loud mouth and thunderous fists, Mayorga (28-6-1) again staggered his opponent in the closing minute of the second round before opening a cut over Vargas' left eye with a hard right early in the third.

But by the fourth round Mayorga, who was jeered lustily when he stepped into the ring wearing a smirk above his camouflage robe and trunks, was clearly beginning to tire, allowing Vargas (26-5) to go on the attack for the first time.

And soon the momentum began to swing.

"Vargas came out with a different style than I anticipated," Mayorga said. "I adjusted well and was able to land heavy punches. He was faster than I thought. But I stuck with my game plan and put the pressure on him."

Vargas stole a page from Julio Cesar Chavez's book, entering the arena wearing rosary beads beneath a cotton peasant shirt, huge sombero and tan trunks bearing the Mexican flag. But he also weighed more than 170 pounds -- more than six pounds over what he weighed in at Thursday.

And he appeared soft and slow after a 16-month layoff as Mayorga, in addition to cutting Vargas above the eye, backed his opponent up with solid body shots.

By the end of the seventh round, blood was spilling from the cut and the swollen eye was beginning to close. But Vargas, whose greatest weapon has always been his heart, didn't quit.

He hurt the tiring Mayorga with a hard right near the end of the eighth round and the Nicaraguan responded by clutching Vargas, stalling for the bell -- then sucker-punching Vargas after it rang.

Mayorga, returning to the ring for the first time in 18 months and fighting above 158 pounds for the first time in his career, wasn't about to quit either. Trailing on two of the three judges cards after 10 rounds, he stunned a retreating Vargas with a right hand in the closing seconds of the 11th, knocking him backward to the canvas.

On their final scorecards judges Glenn Trowbridge (114-112) and Max DeLuca (115-111) called the fight for Mayorga while judge David Mendoza ruled it a draw (113-113).

That was enough to give Vargas (26-5), a two-time world champion, his third consecutive loss. But then he really hasn't been the same fighter since a brutal 12th-round knockout loss to Felix Trinidad in 2000.

He reunited with Roberto Garcia Sr., his original trainer, for Friday's fight in the hope of going out a winner. Mayorga upset those plans but not Vargas' plans for retirement -- one he'll start with a nest egg that could reach $15 million, depending on the pay-per-view numbers. Mayorga was expected to get half that. But he's not ready to retire.

"I want to keep fighting a few more times at 154 pounds," he said. "I have a lot of fight left in me."

www.latimes.com

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