Junior featherweight world titleholder Rey Vargas will make his second defense when he takes on Oscar Negrete in a battle of undefeated fighters on Dec. 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York, Golden Boy Promotions announced on Friday.
The fight will be televised on HBO (10 p.m. ET/PT) as the co-feature to the farewell fight of junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs), who defends his belt against Sadam Ali (25-1, 14 KOs) in what Cotto says will be his final fight.
"Vargas and Negrete are both undefeated Golden Boy Promotions fighters who will bring a tremendous fight to Madison Square Garden on Dec. 2," said Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya. "Both are coming off tough fights earlier this year and will risk their undefeated records in a co-main event that will look to steal the show."
Vargas (30-0, 22 KOs), 26, of Mexico, won a vacant 122-pound title belt on Feb. 25 by majority decision against Gavin McDonnell in Hull, England. Vargas, who is trained by Hall of Famer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain, made his first defense via unanimous decision over Ronny Rios on Aug. 26 on HBO on the undercard of Cotto's title victory against Yoshihiro Kamegai at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
"I feel privileged to be fighting at an arena where some of history's best fighters have fought," Vargas said. "I know that Oscar Negrete is a brawler and that this is a fight between two undefeated fighters. Negrete is a young man who pushes forward hard, and his 17-0 record and his place in the rankings demonstrate that he's a great rival.
"Also, it will be an honor to share the card with Miguel Cotto, and I know that the arena will be filled with a lot of emotion for his last fight. And, just as a star is making a grand exit, I hope that a new star is born, and his name is Rey Vargas."
Negrete (17-0, 7 KOs), 30, a Colombia native fighting out of Rosemead, California, is moving in weight from bantamweight and coming off an eighth-round knockout of Sergio Frias on the June 30 edition of "Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN."
"I am super happy for this opportunity," Negrete said. "I am not only seeing one dream come true but two dreams. It's been a dream of mine to fight for a world title and a dream to fight at Madison Square Garden, and on Dec. 2, I'll be doing both. I know Rey Vargas is a great fighter, but I've always wanted to fight the best. If I'm going to fight for a world title, it has to be with a great rival who is worth it and whom I can be proud to fight."