LAS VEGAS -- Opening up Saturday's Victor Ortiz-Floyd Mayweather Jr. pay-per-view telecast will be undefeated junior welterweight Jessie Vargas, 22, who takes on tough Josesito Lopez in what may wind up being the best fight on the card. Vargas, whose last two wins have been devastating knockouts of veterans Vivian Harris and Walter Estrada, fights under the banner of Mayweather Promotions, whose CEO, Leonard Ellerbe, on Wednesday described him as, "in our eyes, the best young fighter in the sport."
The good vibes appear to be mutual.
"I think it's very beneficial to have Floyd on my side," Vargas said this week. "He's a great promoter, he's promoted me the right way, I feel. Floyd, being the way he is, I think that got him to where he's at now, and I think that's going to help me."
Vargas says that Mayweather takes an active role in selecting his opponents and also, when his own commitments permit, helps oversee his training regimen.
"He's very hands-on," Vargas said. "When he's training, it's very difficult for him to come in and check me out because he's very dedicated to his own training. But when he's not training, he comes out to the gym and makes sure I'm doing everything right."
Mayweather smartly raised Vargas' name in connection with junior welterweight champ Amir Khan, insisting that Khan would have to get past Vargas in order to make a match with "Money May," a savvy way to increase his fighter's profile.
"I'm very thankful that he's speaking highly of me and that he's thinking of me,' Vargas said.
Vargas knows, of course, that long before he is ready for the likes of Khan, he has to deal with Lopez, in his pay-per-view debut, a task in which he is confident of success.
"I've been training with Robert Alcazar now," he said. "He's showed me a lot. Expect a great fighter: a smart fighter, who knows how to brawl, how to box, a little bit of everything. We're aiming to be the next big thing in boxing, as Floyd has said. We like to be called 'The New Generation.' We want to be the next Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather. And that's what we're working on."