Two world title rematches are just hours away now on ESPN, with Miguel Berchelt taking on Francisco Vargas in the main event for the WBC super featherweight title, and Emanuel Navarrete facing Isaac Dogboe for the WBO super bantamweight title in the co-feature.
Here’s how the headliners stack on paper:
Physically, the two are about even in height and reach, and they turned pro in the same year. But Vargas is seven years older than Berchelt, and he’s got the wars to go with it — his grueling win over Takashi Miura in 2015 and hard-hitting draw with Orlando Salido in 2016 led to his 2017 loss to Berchelt, who was younger and stronger and fresher, and not much has changed in the two years since then.
Vargas may actually be a bit fresher now than he was then — his last two fights against Stephen Smith and Rod Salka likely didn’t take a big toll on him — but he’s simply gotten older, and Berchelt maybe even better as he’s right in his prime years.
As for Vargas not being ranked by TBRB or BoxRec, he’s been inactive for over a year, last fighting in April 2018. Otherwise, it’s hard to figure him not having a place in the top 10 at 130, even if maybe not as high as The Ring’s No. 4 ranking.
Here’s the matchup for the co-feature:
The tale of the tape was significant the first time around. Navarrete’s big advantages in height (five inches) and reach (eight inches) allowed him to beat up on Dogboe, who will have to try to figure out ways to get around the size differential this time.
Will this one be a repeat or revenge? Classic boxing question, but it’s all on whether or not Dogboe can figure out a way to be more effective this time. It’s only been five months since the first fight.
Our staffers are split on this one — two are picking Navarrete, two are picking Dogboe.