All the lights and eyes might be on Manny Pacquiao and Chris Algieri this Saturday night when they face each other Manny’s WBO welterweight title from the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Macau, China, the actual fight of the night might be the semi-main event. In it former WBC lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco of Tijuana by way of Los Mochis, Mexico, challenges the undefeated Jessie Vargas for the WBA junior welterweight title. The twelve-round bout might just be a do or die fight for the twenty-eight year old DeMarco.
DeMarco began his athletic life not with gloves on his hands but with cleats on his feet when as a young teenager he was sent away from his Los Mochis home to Mexico City to play soccer with one of the junior teams linked to one of the major Mexican teams that are the passion of the country’s people every Sunday. DeMarco quickly realized that perhaps that although he was good enough for Los Mochis, he might not be good for nationally and DeMarco decided at the age of fourteen to change sports. Following his grandfather’s footsteps who fought his way to a national title, DeMarco decided to travel to Tijuana and learn to box.
After some tough years where he actually lived on the streets of the northern Mexico border city, DeMarco went pro in 2004 at the age of 18 years. A southpaw with power on either fist, DeMarco is not known for his great defense but makes up for it with his heart and long arm attack. After rattling eight straight wins, DeMarco suffered his first loss via a six-round majority decision. Fifteen wins and a draw later DeMarco was the interim WBC lightweight champion on the eve of challenging the late great Edwin Valero for the absolute title in 2010. DeMarco was stopped in nine rounds. DeMarco got another chance at the title and make good on it by stopping Jorge Linares in late 2011 with a come from behind TKO in eleven rounds. After defending the title twice, including a one round knockout of John Molina, DeMarco lost the title to Adrien Broner in 2012 by stoppage in the eighth round. Since then DeMarco has campaigned just a bit north of the junior welterweight limit and under tutelage of Freddie Roach in Hollywood, CA, looking for a new title opportunity. He found it this Saturday night.
Many might say this is a do or die fight for DeMarco. Not considered part of the elite level of boxing, DeMarco has gone against the odds to crown himself a world champion. Vargas might just be the most beatable of the light welterweight champions with Lamont Peterson holding the IBF title, Chris Algieri the WBO and Danny Garcia the WBC and the WBA super champion titles. That and the fact that Vargas has looked less than stellar in his last two fights, unanimous decisions over Anton Novikov and Khabib Allakhverdiev, the latter the bout where he won the world title, might just give DeMarco the edge despite what many fans and boxing experts have to say. The fact that Vargas has only nine knockouts in twenty-five wins might also tilt the scale a bit in DeMarco’s favor.
One thing that Vargas might have going for him is the fact that former pound for pound king Roy Jones Jr is working his corner while Freddie Roach, voted trainer of the year multiple of times, is in DeMarco’s. which one would you prefer in yours?