Junior featherweight Rey Vargas knows he has an uphill battle going to Gavin McDonnell’s turf to face him for a vacant world title on Saturday at the Hull Ice Arena in Hull, England.
That is why Vargas, a native of Mexico, said he does not plan to leave it in the hands of the judges. He said he is bringing his own two judges -- his right hand and his left hand.
“It is a risk going to England, but I’m not scared,” Vargas said. “I know that I’ll get booed when I go into the ring, but I know when I win and step out of the ring they will applaud me. I am going to win this fight, even being in his backyard. He has that home advantage, but I will win.
“I know the judges could be an issue. In fact, a gym mate of mine, Julio Ceja, fought his brother (Jamie McDonnell, for a bantamweight world title in 2013) and won, but they robbed him. The idea is to go for the knockout, otherwise they could rob you. It shows a bit of cowardice, not on him but on his team because they don’t want him to fight outside his country as they know he’ll lose.”
The reality is that the fight is in England because that is where the money is. Vargas is not a big name or draw in Mexico or anywhere else, so he is going on the road.
Vargas (28-0, 22 KOs), 26, and former European champion McDonnell (16-0-2, 4 KOs), 30, are vying for the 122-pound belt left vacant when Japan’s Hozumi Hasegawa announced his retirement in December.
The fight is an opportunity for McDonnell to not only win a world title but to hold a belt simultaneously with twin brother Jamie, which would make them the first British twins to hold world titles at the same time.
Jamie, who has held bantamweight titles twice, has defended his current belt five times. He probably will next fight this summer, and if Gavin has his way he will dispose of Vargas and defend his new belt on the same card as his brother -- and have people debate which of them is No. 1 in the family.
“[Jamie] is comfortable being No. 1 in the family, but he is getting a wake-up call, because I am hot on his heels now,” Gavin McDonnell said. “People might start saying I am the No. 1 if I have a world title, so Jamie will have a point to prove, too.
“I think the next year is going to be huge for us both. We will be pushing each other on -- two twin brothers at the same level, doing the same sort of thing. At the moment he has achievements much greater than mine, but that is where I want to be, and we are on this journey together. It is nice to see that we are both giving each other these memorable nights. One of the main dreams down the line would be for us both to co-headline a show where we both have world titles. Not just for us but for the family, the supporters, for everybody who has backed us over the years to give them a super night in Doncaster. That is the night, and we intend to bring boxing back to Doncaster. If I win this world title, we will be the first twins to do it from the U.K., so there is a bit of history on the line as well.”