At Johnny Tapia's farewell fight in Albuquerque, Fernando Vargas stated that he will be fighting Ricardo Mayorga in June, and that he "has one fight left in him." Vargas and Mayorga are both at interesting stages of their careers, and from completely different angles. This is not a set thing, obviously, but it's been rumored for a while and with Mayorga's legal problems, he probably needs to get back into the ring to make some money. Plus, I don't think there's anyone else for either of them to fight.
Vargas, 29, is 26-4 and has lost his last two fights, both to Shane Mosley, and the second one beyond decisive. Vargas last won when he beat Javier Castillejo in 2005, and while Castillejo is a tough, savvy fighter, no one is going to argue that Vargas beat a top fighter with that one. The last time Vargas scored a notable win was either Ike Quartey (April 2000) or Winky Wright (December 1999), and I didn't think Vargas won either of those fights.
For all of Vargas' bluster and fame, he has never come close to living up to what many thought his potential to be. He was knocked out by Oscar, much like Mayorga was. He was knocked out by Trinidad, much like Mayorga was. The difference is, no one ever said Ricardo Mayorga could be a great fighter, or really even a good one. Mayorga is what he is, a brawler with guts and a relative indifference to his reputation. Vargas was touted as a potentially great champion, a guy who had real skills. And he was a good fighter, at times very good. But he hasn't done anything this decade besides win fights he should have won, and lose when the guy across the ring has been "in his league."
The truth about Vargas is, he's a middling type of guy that gets caught in the between league -- he's a little above the class of a Castillejo, but obviously below that of Oscar or Mosley. Vargas is likely above Mayorga, as well, as Mayorga's entire career has been built on the fact that he was Vernon Forrest's daddy.
And there are a lot of people that really love Vargas in spite of anything, and I'm the same way with Mayorga. I think he's highly entertaining and despite the illusion that he isn't dedicated in many ways, Mayorga will fight anyone he's in the ring with and put on a show. He did so stupidly against Trinidad, who was too good and too smart to fall for the tricks that Vernon Forrest was victim to. Since beating Forrest twice, the only wins Mayorga has are over Eric Mitchell in an embarrassingly routine 10-round decision, with El Matador clearly out of shape and Mitchell just so bad that he couldn't even contend with Mayorga then, and Michele Piccirillo, a similar win to Vargas' over Castillejo.
There's a very easy way to think that Mayorga and/or Vargas -- more likely Vargas -- could still rebound and finish out a career that will be remembered very fondly. However, the fact is, I don't see it in Vargas, and nobody sees it in Mayorga. Who is Mayorga going to beat, really? He's not good enough, and it's plain to see he's not a world-class fighter.
Vargas is a different story, and the longer his career goes, the more I get the impression that Vargas is another one of the pretenders that doesn't have the heart to be great. And I'll tell you, eight or nine years ago, that never would have been my guess about El Feroz. After his wins over Yory Boy Campas and Raul Marquez, before the Wright and Quartey bouts, I never, ever thought I'd question Vargas' determination, even if I wasn't his biggest fan.
A fight between Mayorga and Vargas is something I'd really like to see, personally. I am a Mayorga fan and I've always liked watching Vargas fight, partially because I've always wanted him to lose, and that makes a fight just as exciting as rooting for a guy to win. But if it happens, it's going to be somewhat bittersweet. It's not a marquee fight, and it's not going to put the winner into contention for anything. It is a fight between two fighters that have looked washed-up, who were both beaten mercilessly by superior boxers in their last fights. It's not for pride, it's out of necessity. Who else can Fernando Vargas fight? Who else can Ricardo Mayorga fight?
But if it goes off, any and all press leading to the fight is going to be good. Neither guy has ever lost his touch there.