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Jessie Vargas is being trained by Roy Jones Jr.

Jessie Vargas has enlisted Roy Jones Jr. to be his trainer for his upcoming bout with Antonio DeMarco.

David Becker
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

I can't say I saw this one coming. Jessie Vargas has teamed up with both Roy Jones Jr. and Angel Heredia ahead of his welterweight clash with Antonio DeMarco in Macau.

"I have a new team with Roy Jones (Jr.), and I have Angel Heredia, the strength and conditioning coach who worked with Juan Manuel Marquez when he beat Manny Pacquiao. We're going to be stronger than ever, with more endurance than ever and with more heart, and we're going to be in better shape and better everything," said Vargas, 25.

"Not only that, but with Roy backing me up, I'm actually having more fun in the ring. Really. It's actually more fun. His style makes it a lot more fun in there. There's a difference between this camp and the camp before. I'm stronger and I'm having more fun and I'm staying active. It's really nice."

Vargas effectively lost his last trainer, Ismael Salas, when he accepted an offer to be a coach abroad. Vargas was unwilling to go abroad with him so that left a vacancy in his team.

"A little bit before we were to start the training camp for DeMarco, Ismael Salas, my last trainer, he took on a deal to train some fighters in England. From what he was telling me, they were offering him a good amount of money that he was happy with," said Vargas.

"That was a little bit surprising that it happened, because he was so unsure whether he was going to say yes or no. I told him that I wished him all the best, but I told him that I'm a fighter that's out of Las Vegas. My family is in Las Vegas, my fans are in Las Vegas, so I can't see myself going anywhere else, especially as far away as England. When he made the decision to take off for England, I was left to train myself."

However, Vargas then had a chance encounter with Jones at the four-division titlewinner's fight academy in Las Vegas.

"It was just coincidence. He told me, ‘You know what, man, I've seen you fight, and I would like to see some improvement. I would like to see you work on this, and on this here and to throw your punches like this, with more power.' He told me to come into his office one day," said Vargas.

"But he told me, ‘I don't want to train you, I just want to see you better yourself. I want to see you improve.' He said, ‘You're a world champion and I know that you can improve, and I want to see that happen. I just want to show you a few moves that I think that you can benefit from, and to not step on anyone's toes.'""I had to take him up on his offer, and within a half an hour of him teaching me a few things, I said, ‘Wow, he has a lot to show me, and a lot to teach me, and a lot of knowledge about the game,'" said Vargas.

"That's when I opened up about my training situation and I asked him, ‘I would like for you to train me,' and he liked the idea, and he said, ‘Yes, I'll train you,' and we've been together ever since. There's a nice bond developing and we have a lot of mutual respect for each other."

It will be interesting to see what Jones comes up with for Vargas in this fight, as I haven't seen him work in a trainer's capacity before. Another interesting side note is that Vargas says he's considering a move to welterweight very soon. This comes despite Team Pacquiao's claims that Manny will be moving back to 140lbs, which could have potentially set up a big-money fight for Vargas in the near future. I suppose it could still happen though, this is boxing after all.

"I am considering a move up very soon. I want to stay as long as I can at 140, but I'm pretty sure that I'm moving up after this one. I have spoken to Bob about the weight already before this fight, and he wanted me to defend the title once more before considering some big opportunities up ahead," said Vargas.

"I'm just concentrating on making the weight one last time, and then, after that, I'm looking forward to capturing another title in the welterweight division. I have to sit down and talk to Roy about it, so right now I'm concentrating on this fight and on this fight only. But I do plan on going up into the welterweight division."

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