Jessie Vargas on Failed Jaime Munguia Negotiations
In boxing, as in life, it’s best not to count your chickens until they hatch. This is a lesson that former welterweight boxer Jessie “The Pride of Las Vegas” Vargas was recently reminded of.
Intent on becoming a three-division world champion, he set his sights on WBO world super welterweight champion Jaime Munguia. Although, there was much more substance to a potential fight than mere wishful thinking.
The two teams had come together and entered into deep negotiations. In fact, in Vargas’ eyes, his team was completely ready to go and signed off on the bout. By their estimation, the fight was a done deal. That was until Team Munguia added a curious last-minute weight stipulation which negated Vargas’ whole rationale for wanting the fight.
“My goal is to become a three-division world champion. He’s the 154lbs world champion, so let’s fight for the world title. Fighting at 156 that would no longer be for the world title so it made no sense to me.
“[…] Everything seemed to be going in the right direction. Then, they came back with that, demanding that the fight would be at 156. Like I said, that made no sense at all and I believe it was just that; the reason for them to say, ‘oh he didn’t want it at 156, so we didn’t make the fight.’”
Vargas was not the only person scratching their heads at the curious development. The odd provision was puzzling to boxing fans and insiders alike. Although, the industry-wide consensus was that Munguia had hit a major wall in his development as a fighter.
After whipping on Sadam Ali to acquire the WBO belt, then soundly defeating Liam Smith, Munguia’s performances took a sharp negative turn. Since those two bouts he has put on three consecutive lack luster performances.
In fact, most believe that the judges gifted him an undeserving points victory in his last prizefight against Dennis Hogan.
Therefore, when the negotiations between team Munguia and Vargas dissolved, many speculated that it was because Vargas was viewed as too stiff a test for Munguia at this regressed portion of his career. The Pride of Las Vegas does not disagree with this stance.
“Check this out. So, a couple days later, after we disagreed and the fight didn’t happen, they come to confirm a fight with someone else and they are fighting at 154lbs for the world title! For the WBO world title!
“It makes no sense. Why didn’t they fight me at 154lbs? I believe that they just saw it as a big threat! A major threat and they didn’t want to take the fight for that reason.”
A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS
If it’s true that Team Munguia is not only ducking and hiding, but evading a smaller man coming up, it really is a sad time for the champ. Yet, given the facts of the matter, it’s very hard to deny that this is what’s going on.
Rather than put his belt on the line versus Vargas, Team Munguia opted to pen a title fight with the virtually unknown Ghanaian boxer Patrick Allotey. Allotey has only fought outside of his native land three times and he has lost each of those attempts.
Given all the variables, it really does appear that Team Munguia chose the softer touch to allow their man a chance to regain some of the luster that he has recently lost.
As for Vargas, he has no choice but to stay optimistic and remain busy.
“It’s sad though man, that they didn’t want to take the fight because we could have given the fans a good showdown. In California or in Vegas, it didn’t matter you know? September 14, a huge Mexican tradition of having a Mexican fighter, you know, be able to entertain the fans, and we would have done that.
“But, it’s just that, hey, you know things happen. So, right now, we just looking for someone else. We’re looking for another opponent. I have a great team. I have a great promoter Eddie Hearn.
“My advisers, they’re working out other options […] and another possible date in late September. So, I hope that my fans will stay tuned for that and we’re always here to give good show. I’ll make sure that whoever it’s against, you’ll be entertained.”
By: Bakari Simpson