Timothy Bradley says he is a risk-taker and despite having fought the biggest names already, he signed to fight dangerous Light Welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on Saturday night.
An Admirable Choice
Bradley’s willingness to face a hungry and unbeaten stud like Vargas is admirable in a time where his contemporaries like Amir Khan are carefully choosing opponents and schedules in the hopes of landing a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Should Bradley lose against Vargas, it would be a big blow to his career since his last two bout have been a loss to Manny Pacquiao and a draw against Diego Chaves. On the other hand, Vargas has nothing to lose and everything to gain, even in a possible loss against one of the best welterweights in the planet.
Bradley was eyeing a title eliminator bout with Shawn Porter for the right to face Kell Brook. But because of the animosity between Bradley’s promoter Top Rank and Al Haymon who handles Porter, that proposal fell through. Porter ended up fighting Adrien Broner last weekend while Bradley will face Vargas on Saturday at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California in what is now an interim title bout for the WBO welterweight championship.
Weight is a Factor
One of the key factors in this fight is weight because Jessie Vargas is a 140 pound champion moving up to welterweight to fight Timothy Bradley Jr. Vargas may be undefeated in 26 fights but he didn’t have the punching power at light welterweight as evidenced by his total of 9 career knockouts. Like Vargas, Bradley isn’t a known knockout artist with 12 knockouts in 31 victories. But against a kid moving up in weight and fighting at 147 pounds for the first time, he may carry a punch too big for Vargas.
Vargas though has looked good fight after fight and appeared really strong in his last outing against Antonio De Marco. But Bradley has been tested by the best of the best in the welterweight division. Bradley fought 12 rounds against Ruslan Provodnikov, Juan Manuel Marquez, Lamont Peterson and even 24 against Manny Pacquiao. He was never knocked down in any of those fights although he was rocked by Provodnikov.
Who Takes This?
Bradley is a 1/5 favorite against Vargas who is a 100/30 underdog. Aside from the advantage in weight, Bradley carries tons of championship experience to the fight. Vargas is a secondary title holder, but he’s not fought at the level that Bradley’s been at since 2008 and that may be his biggest problem.
Vargas needs to be very busy against a volume puncher like Bradley in order to out-point him. Without the knockout power, the only way to beat Bradley is to outwork him. But Bradley has the same foot and handspeed as Vargas and own a myriad of offensive moves that Vargas doesn’t have. In the end, Bradley’s ring savvy and experience may be too much for the young Vargas. Experts are picking Bradley to win by a wide unanimous decision.