DALLAS- In the fight game, it’s no secret that any fighter can be beaten on any given night.
Last Saturday (Feb.22), former world champion Deontay Wilder (42-1-1) became a living testament of the claim after suffering his first professional loss to new WBC Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (28-0-1) in the two’s historic sequel fight at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. Going into the fight a -125 favorite, Wilder’s surprising upset has not only affected his undefeated streak but the rest of boxing moving forward. Most notably, the shift in betting odds for the upcoming WBC Diamond belt welterweight fight between Mikey Garcia (39-1) versus Jessie Vargas (29-2-2).
Ahead of Fury/Wilder II, Garcia, 32, went into the weekend (Feb.21-23) a -531 favorite with Vargas, 30, a +444 underdog. Since Wilder’s quest to surpass Floyd Mayweather’s undefeated world record (50-0) coming to an abrupt end, the upset has unexpectedly altered the betting odds for Garcia/Vargas. Now, the fight between the former four-time champion Garcia and former two-division champion Vargas is closer than ever as unpredictability eclipses over everything with Garcia still a favorite at -490 but Vargas’ underdog odds unusually improves to +365. The sudden change is irrefutably evident Wilder’s defeat sending a ripple effect throughout the boxing landscape.
The Bronze Bomber has activated his rematch clause, setting up Fury/Wilder III for the foreseeable future. And with Fury completely dominating Wilder in the sequel using the soundly better boxing technique. Wilder and his best-in-boxing knockout power still have a chance to reclaim his titles in the forthcoming trilogy. He credits his first loss to fatigue following his extravagant ring entrance which included parading an extra 40lbs uniform by Cosmo and Donato.
Mikey, who also recently suffered his first loss in last fight to WBC/IBF champ Errol Spence Jr, is heading into this fight at a crossroads with the passion to return to the top of the division in his new home at 147lbs. While Garcia, an orthodox fighter, is known for his high-percentage output and fundamental strategies, Vargas, a much bigger southpaw, is a serve threat for the Moreno Valley-native with his three-inch reach advantage and a TKO victory over last opponent, Humberto Soto. Garcia/Vargas has the makings of a classic blockbuster as both men are hungry to return to championship contendership against the division’s current champs Manny Pacquiao, Errol Spence Jr and Terrence Crawford.
The Garcia/Vargas undercard includes high-profile fights like Julio Cesar Martinez v. Jay Harris, Kal Yafai v. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Joseph Parker v. Shawndell Winters, Jesse Rodriguez v. Marcos Sustaita, Leo Ruiz Acevado v. Dennis Knifechief, Alexis Espino v. Delvecchio Savage, Israil Madrimov v. Charlie Navarro and Diego Pacheco v. Oscar Riojas. In promotion of his biggest lineup yet, promoter Eddie Hearn previews the undercard’s fighters, style mechanics and their respective accomplishments. Watch Hearn’s undercard commentary below.
Ahead of Saturday’s WBC matchup, the remaining of Garcia/Vargas fight week includes media day (Wednesday, Feb.26) and Weigh-in (Friday, Feb.28) at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Like Fury, will Jessie Vargas pull off an upset against Garcia? “I’m going to give you my best performance to date this Saturday night,” Vargas tweets.
Vargas second fight with DAZN, he calls his clash with the newly-sign DAZN fighter (Garcia) the fight fans have been wanting to see. Vargas tells DAZN’s Lauren Gardner, “We are giving the fans what they want to see. Mikey is a terrific fighter and we are going to give the fans a great fight, it has all the ingredients to be like a Barerra-Morales style trilogy, you never know because we are two fighters that are will to do anything to come out with the victory. This is one of the fights that I am interested in because it’s going to generate a lot of interest and it’s my time to shine.”
Hearn promises the winner an immediate championship fight. A one fight deal, Garcia’s first fight under new promoter is a potential setup to a July blockbuster Pacquiao/Garcia in Saudi Arabia. The focused Garcia, expected to out-box Vargas, has been tight-lipped about Saturday’s bout aside from simple must-watch promotions on social media.
Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas is brought to you by DAZN/Matchroom Boxing/Garcia Promotions/Canelo Promotions. Tickets available now.
Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas at 8 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT Saturday, Feb.29. Watch it Live on DAZN.