If the fight had gone through on September 8, I would have paid the money to see it.
After Fernando Vargas battled anemia and forced the bout back to November 23, I figured I may still pay. Now, though, I can't see any reason to.
Since the original date for Vargas' "farewell fight" against Ricardo Mayorga was scrapped, we have seen Taylor-Pavlik and Calzaghe-Kessler on regular subscription HBO. We've seen Cotto-Mosley top a pay-per-view that, thanks to the success of that main event, felt worth the $50. We've seen Marco Antonio Barrera bid farewell in a true event -- if a lackluster fight -- against Manny Pacquiao. We've even seen a steamroller of a "Contender" finale on ESPN.
In three weeks, pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, Jr., puts his welterweight title on the line against junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton in one of the biggest fights year. If you, like me, ordered both Pacquiao-Barrera II and Cotto-Mosley, and plan to order Mayweather-Hatton, that's $150 in boxing pay-per-view money since October.
Vargas-Mayorga, in these times, just does not stack up. With a less-than-inspiring undercard featuring what should be an easy title defense by welterweight titleholder Kermit Cintron, a show headlined by two trash-talking, past-their-prime brawlers fighting at an almost absurd 166 pounds isn't worth the money.
166 pounds? That's the weight at which Taylor and Pavlik will fight their rematch. Two pounds below the super middleweight limit, the weight of Calzaghe and Kessler.
And we're talking about Ricardo Mayorga and Fernando Vargas.
If you've seen the TV promos, you might know what I mean. BLH and Bloody Elbow contributing editor Brent Brookhouse remarked to me the other day that he's never seen a fight promo feature two guys that looked puffier and more out of shape than Vargas and Mayorga do in the short clip. I can't disagree. This isn't a knock on them as men -- both of those guys are in phenomenal shape compared to me and the average male walking around or reading this. But as professional fighters, they look like two guys that could punch themselves out by the fourth round.
The promotion is centered around talk of hate, talk of pride and manliness, and talk of what an exciting brawl these two all-or-nothing fighters will give us.
In truth, I think we're not looking at a fight that's being fought for pride. Mayorga and Vargas probably really dislike each other, and aren't playing it up much to sell the fight.
But this fight, to me, seems more like it's about Fernando Vargas taking one last stab at going out a winner, against a hand-picked opponent who has been brutalized in two of his last three fights, by Oscar de la Hoya and Felix Trinidad, who also conquered Vargas.
Vargas was a prodigy, a blue chip prospect with heart for days. I never liked Vargas personally, but I generally enjoyed watching him fight. He fought too much with his heart and not his head at times, but many of my favorite fighters are guilty of the same -- if you can call it something for which to feel guilty.
Mayorga was never supposed to be at this level. A step up from a club fighter, really, Mayorga made his name with wild brawling and two wins over Vernon Forrest, the first of which was a genuine shocker to almost everyone, and still doesn't make sense on paper. But since beating Forrest for the second time in 2003, Mayorga is 2-3. He hasn't fought since May of 2006, when de la Hoya humbled him, knocking him down once in the first round and twice in the sixth before Jay Nady waved it off.
Vargas had been on a four-fight winning streak since Oscar shut him up with a heroic performance in 2002. And then he met "Sugar" Shane Mosley. Their first encounter was a war, stopped in favor of Mosley when Vargas' face swelled to such an enormous degree that he couldn't see well enough to ably fight anymore without risking getting hurt badly. In their rematch, Mosley battered Vargas for five-plus rounds before ending it with a wicked left hook.
Never cared for Vargas, but loved to watch "El Feroz." And as I've said before, I've long been a fan of Mayorga -- but now, I don't feel the way I used to. He is now truly more "Matador" than bull. His machismo and guts are evident mostly in what he says. It's hard to forget how badly the "pretty" de la Hoya beat him.
Vargas: "Mayorga is a stupid fighter, you know what I mean? ... He's a jackass. He doesn't think about what he says. He just spews things, whatever comes out of his mouth and whatever comes up to his head. I'm going to remind him. When I knock him down, I'm going to tell him to get up. I'm going to tell him to get up and remember what he said. Remember all the stuff you said, that he's going to do this and he's going to do that. People are going to be crying, and he's going to be crying. ... I don't like anything about Mayorga."
Mayorga: "I don't like the guy. I really don't like the attitude of the guy. I really don't like him. I am going to knock him out, and even his wife is going to come up to the ring and have pictures with the real champion, and that is going to be me."
It's great talk. Unfortunately, for pay-per-view money, I just don't have the confidence that it will amount to be anything more than that.