When I noted earlier not to expect much of a replacement opponent for Jessie Vargas on May 5, I was still hoping we'd be getting something a bit better than this, as BoxingScene.com reports that veteran Steve Forbes has been tapped to face Vargas on the Mayweather vs Cotto undercard. Vargas was originally slated to face Alfonso Gomez, who has pulled out with a back injury.
Forbes (35-10, 11 KO) is a 35-year-old former super featherweight titlist who later gained some fame for competing on the 2006 season of "The Contender," and then for facing Oscar De La Hoya in a lousy fight in May 2008, which was a "gift" from Oscar to fight fans, as he took the fight with an undersized guy with no power on HBO instead of pay-per-view, and delivered a dreary 12-round sparring session that was meant to prepare Oscar for a return to welterweight, which came seven months later and saw Oscar manhandled by Manny Pacquiao, who was coming up from lightweight.
Forbes is a respectable, likeable guy and a tough cookie, but there's no getting around these facts: He is not a welterweight, not even really a junior welterweight, he's old, he still can't punch, his skills have slipped, and he looked flat-out shot against Karim Mayfield in June 2011 on Friday Night Fights, stopped for the first time in his pro career, though the stoppage was definitely questionable. Forbes failed to make the welterweight limit for that one, which was surprising given his stature and the fact that he's beyond pushing it as a welter anyway.
Steve Forbes seems like such a nice guy that I hate to argue with him getting the call for this one and a payday, but Vargas (18-0, 9 KO) basically just faced a currently-better version of Forbes in Lanardo Tyner, who is crafty and smart, too, but also still has the gas tank to mix it up and fight. Forbes is no longer so good of a boxer that he should be expected to give Vargas fits, but I'm sure a lot of people will call for just that. There's no doubt in my mind that Vargas is a flawed prospect with a likely limited ceiling, but the 2012 version of Steve Forbes isn't going to expose anything we don't already know.
Added to Canelo Alvarez vs Shane Mosley and Deandre Latimore vs Carlos Quintana, this is a really weak undercard, even though Golden Boy would have you believe that Alvarez-Mosley is its own mega-event. None of this will have any impact on the sales success of the show, as Mayweather vs Cotto is a genuine event between two highly-relevant, legitimate star fighters, so GBP has, in a business sense, done the wise thing by not spending much on this card and just putting on "Floyd's fighters" in matchups that would be bad ShoBox main events (Vargas-Forbes) or good Friday Night Fights main events (Vargas-Gomez, as originally planned) or mediocre FNF main events (Latimore-Quintana). As for those of us who care about more than the main event, it sucks.