By: Rich Lopez
After the big heavyweight showdown this past weekend between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, our focus will be in the welterweight division this Saturday. DAZN will be streaming a huge fight card at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. The main event will be a clash of former world champions between Mikey Garcia and Jessie Vargas. The undercard will also feature two world title fights and a return of a top heavyweight contender.
The main event will be for the vacant WBC Diamond Welterweight Title. Former four weight division champion Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KO’s) of Moreno Valley, California, will square off with former two weight division champion Jessie “The Pride of Las Vegas” Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KO’s) of Las Vegas, Nevada. Garcia, who has won titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140, moved up to the welterweight division last year. In an effort to win a title in a fifth weight division, he fought one of the best welterweights in Errol Spence Jr. Garcia ended up losing a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision but in a gutsy effort. With almost a year off, Garcia is back and ready to make another attempt at a world title in the welterweight division. First, he needs to get by the tough Jessie Vargas. Vargas who has won titles at 140 and 147, is looking for a major title shot himself. Since losing his WBO World Welterweight title to Manny Pacquiao in 2016, he has gone 2-0-2 in his last four fights. Both fighters are looking for a big win this weekend. Garcia is the favorite to win the fight as he is the more superior boxer. Vargas on the other hand is the natural bigger fighter between the two. You would have to think that Vargas has more to lose in this fight than Garcia. If Vargas loses, this can set his career back and further away from a title shot. If Garcia loses, he will be reminded to move back down to 140 or 135 where he is at his best. Expect an entertaining fight between two boxer punchers that love to mix it up.
One of the most intriguing fights on the undercard will be the co-feature in the super flyweight division. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (48-2, 40 KO’s) of Nicaragua, is back for another chance to become a world champion again. Gonzalez, who was a four weight division champion, was once heralded as the pound for pound king. In 2017, Gonzalez lost back to back fights against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai which set him back to the point that some critic’s think he is not the same fighter anymore. That can change on Saturday with a win but it won’t be easy. His challenger is WBA World Super Flyweight Champion Khalid Yafai (26-0, 15 KO’s) of the United Kingdom. Yafai, who was a decorated amateur, won the world title in 2016. He has made five successful title defenses and now will be looking for his sixth title defense. Yafai is a good boxer with speed and good foot work. However, he still needs a signature win and a win over Gonzalez would do it. This will be an interesting fight with a contrast in styles. Yafai will look to box and move while the aggressive Gonzalez will be coming forward. Will Yafai breakthrough as the new star in the division or does Gonzalez have another big win left in him?
The other world title fight on the undercard is in the flyweight division. WBC World Flyweight Champion Julio Cesar “El Rey” Martinez (15-1, 12 KO’s) of Mexico, will be making his second defense of the title. He will face off with Jay Harris (17-0, 9 KO’s) of the United Kingdom. Martinez, who lost his professional debut in 2015 by split decision has won fifteen fights straight since then. Last year, Martinez was on his way to stopping Charlie Edwards in a WBC title fight, but the fight was ruled a no contest. Martinez unintentionally hit Edwards while he was down. However, Martinez ended the year winning the vacant WBC title with a stoppage victory over former world champion Cristopher Rosales in the ninth round. Martinez is one of most exciting world champions today. He has a fan friendly style and he likes to mix his punches to the body and head. In addition, Martinez has a unique style of switching stances while he attacks. Harris is a fast fighter and likes to throw combinations. The undefeated Welshmen is a skilled boxer and is looking for the upset come Saturday night. Can Harris dethrone the hard punching Martinez or will Martinez add another stoppage victory to his resume? Based on styles, this should be an action packed fight.
Also on the undercard, former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KO’s) of New Zealand, makes his return. He will face off with Shawndell Terell Winters (13-2, 12 KO’s) of Harvey, Illinois. Parker was scheduled for a showdown with Dereck Chisora back in October of last year. However, an illness prevented Parker to move forward with the fight. Parker’s last fight was in June of last year when he stopped Alex Leapai in the tenth round. Parker is aiming for another title shot but needs to shake off some rust and is taking a warm up fight against Winters.
Also there will be other undefeated prospects being showcased on the card like Alexis Espino (5-0, 4 KO’s), Diego Pacheco (8-0, 7 KO’s) and Israil Madrimov (4-0, 4 KO’s).
The card is stacked and it should be a fun filled night of action.