Bob Arum has announced that Jessie Vargas (25-0, 9 KOs) will opening the televised portion of the Pacquaio-Algieri PPV. In this fight, Vargas will be defending his secondary title (with Danny Garcia being the champion) against Antonio DeMarco (31-3-1, 23 KOs). I don't think much of these made-up trinkets and titles so I won't get into the particulars of that aspect, but it will be telling to see how much DeMarco really has left in the tank.
"My opponent Antonio Demarco is a tough, rugged fighter who comes to fight," Vargas said. "I know this will be a fight that fans throughout the world will enjoy. This is very exciting for our team to be part of an event of this magnitude. I plan on bringing my world title belt back to Las Vegas."
The last time we saw DeMarco on our television sets was in a one-sided beating at the hands of Adrien Broner. He really got beat up pretty good in that fight and has since took three fights inat the welterweight division against relative nobodies, all of which he beat handily. This fight against Vargas will mark his first step back up to superior competition. Jessie Vargas claimed a belt in April against Khabib Allakhverdiev, a fight that could have really gone either way, but since Danny Garcia is the legitimate champion at 140, I doubt anyone really cares what "title" he lays claim to anyways.
Arum contemplated other matches for the PPV card to try to boost sales but eventually wound up calling Cameron Dunkin.
"I called (Vargas manager) Cameron Dunkin and asked whether Jessie wanted to be on the card and he said, 'Absolutely,' and I asked if he would fight Antonio DeMarco," Arum said. "He got back to me and said yes. DeMarco is (promoted by) my good friend Fernando Beltran and closed the deal with both fighters. It was simple. It just made sense.
"It helps us (with the pay-per-view) because Jessie has a fan base in Las Vegas, which is a good pay-per-view market, and DeMarco gets a lot of publicity in Mexico. He's not Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Canelo Alvarez in terms of popularity, but he's a Mexican fighter and a highly respected one at that. And besides that, it really shapes up like a good fight in the ring."
Yup, I'm sure Arum needs all the help he can get to sell this Pacquiao-Algieri PPV event, though I'm not sure this fight is enough to do so; at least it doesn't really move the needle for me. Any ol' way, I always thought DeMarco was a bit overrated yet still a pretty decent fighter so this should be an interesting matchup with Vargas. Not interesting enough for me to shell out for the PPV, but okay in its own right.
Has Arum got your attention yet?