Former two-division world titleholders Jessie Vargas and Humberto Soto will meet in a 10-round junior middleweight fight on April 26, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced Wednesday.
The fight, which will be at contract weight of 151 pounds, has been added to the DAZN card at The Forum in Inglewood, California, that also includes the previously announced rematch between junior bantamweight world champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada and the junior featherweight title unification fight between Daniel Roman and TJ Doheny.
Hearn had hoped to match Vargas, who has won titles at junior welterweight and welterweight, with former welterweight titlist Kell Brook, but Hearn said Brook would not be ready. Hearn also said that Brook really wants to fight British rival Amir Khan and would wait to see what happens with Khan's challenge of Terence Crawford on April 20 and could instead return in June in the United States.
So Vargas will instead face Soto, a former junior lightweight and lightweight world titleholder, who won an action-packed 12-round unanimous decision over Brand Rios on Feb. 23 in his hometown of Tijuana, Mexico.
Vargas (28-2-2 10 KOs), 29, of Las Vegas, who has made numerous trainer changes in his career, will have his first under the tutelage of International Boxing Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who also has former junior featherweight titlist Scott Quigg (35-2-2, 26 KOs) boxing an opponent to be determined on the card.
"Humberto Soto is the opponent and I'm preparing accordingly with my coaches to give my fans an entertaining fight as always," said Vargas, who has fought two draws in his past two fights against Thomas Dulorme in October and Adrien Broner last April. "Soto is an experienced world-class fighter who challenged me immediately after his win over Brandon Rios. The challenge has been accepted and on April 26, I plan to come out victorious."
Vargas says he hopes a win will propel him to a world title opportunity at junior middleweight against Jaime Munguia later in the year. Munguia is scheduled to make a mandatory defense against Dennis Hogan on April 13 in Monterrey, Mexico.
Soto (69-9-2, 37 KOs), 38, is in the twilight of his career and fighting well over the weights where he won world titles, but he has won four fights in a row and looked good against the faded Rios.
He also would like a shot at Munguia.
"The odds were against me in my last fight against Brandon Rios, and I know that this fight will not be any different," Soto said. "This gives me extra motivation to prove everyone wrong again and to add a third loss to Vargas' record. I am extremely happy for this new chapter in my career and I am not going to waste this great opportunity. Like I said before, this is a do-or-die fight."
Hearn said the matchup adds a potentially exciting fight to an already strong card with the winner emerging with a real chance to land a fight with Munguia.
"Soto was outstanding in defeating Brandon Rios a few weeks back in Mexico and goes into this fight full of confidence attempting to upset the odds again," Hearn said. "Jessie will take this fight at 151 pounds as he makes the transition to 154 pounds and can't afford an upset as he targets Jamie Munguia later this year."