Mikey Garcia must beat Jessie Vargas well to land big fights at welterweight

So Mikey Garcia goes again at welterweight a year after his one-sided loss to Errol Spence in his first outing at 147 pounds.

Already a four-weight world champion Garcia wanted to augment legendary status by stepping up two divisions to take on Spence.

Having proved a leap too far Garcia has hand picked fellow Mexican Jesse Vargas to put himself back in the frame.

He is asking himself the same questions as the fans; can he still show the ferocity he had at super feather and lightweight, where he could knock guys clean into next week.

Vargas is a genuine welterweight, if not top drawer. He is a fraction or two below but brings enough durability and nouse as a former world champion, however briefly, to be a decent benchmark.

His two defeats were against world class opposition, Timothy Bradley five years ago and Manny Pacquiao 17 months later, both by decision.

His record also shows successive draws in 2018 against Adrien Broner, who Garcia defeated, and Thomas Dulorme before stopping Humberto Soto last time out.

Vargas is strong and a reasonable puncher if not with lights out power. The 2017 version of Garcia would probably have stopped him. Garcia is a better puncher than Pacman and Bradley, even at welterweight.

But he was completely outboxed by Spence. He never laid a glove on him and ended the fight utterly diminished.

Defeats like that leave mental as well as physical scars. Clearly Garcia is keen to breakthrough at the weight. He does not fancy the trial of boiling down to 140 or even 135 if he can help it.

His problem is the division is red hot. Spence is out of reach and Terence Crawford too in terms of size and ability. At 5ft 7ins Garcia is just too small to trouble the best in the division.

The aim is to see off Vargas conclusively so that he might rewrite history by claiming Spence caught him on a bad day.

So this is all about how much he has got left against an opponent who has never been stopped but does not present quite the threat that others might.

For Vargas it’s a brilliant opportunity to take a legacy scalp having fallen short in two previous attempts.

I take Garcia to win, but it is how he triumphs that matters if he wants to land the big fish.

Follow Barry on Twitter at @ClonesCyclone , @McGuigans_Gym and @CyclonePromo

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