Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas: Preview and prediction

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 28: Mikey Garcia enters the ring for his WBC & IBF World Lightweight Title fight against Robert Easter, Jr at Staples Center on July 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 28: Mikey Garcia enters the ring for his WBC & IBF World Lightweight Title fight against Robert Easter, Jr at Staples Center on July 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Will Mikey Garcia be able to bounce back after his first professional loss? Or will veteran Jessie Vargas put an end to Mikey’s run at welterweight?

This Saturday, at the Ford Center at The Star, in Frisco, Mikey Garcia will have his second fight in the welterweight division when he faces veteran Jessie Vargas. A lot is on the line, as the winner will be in position to earn a fight against one of the top dogs in the division.

When: Saturday, Feb. 29 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: The Ford Center at the Star, Frisco, TX
How to watch: DAZN (subscribe here)

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It was not too long ago that Mikey Garcia was a consensus top-10 fighter, pound for pound. However, following a loss to Errol Spence where he essentially lost every round, and nearly a year-long layoff, his name has not been on the mind of boxing fans.

When Mikey signed a one-fight contract with DAZN to fight Jessie Vargas at 147 pounds, fans were surprised but very intrigued to see a fight where both fighters could use a big win at this point in their careers.

Why Mikey Garcia needs a win:

To be frank, he needs to remind fans just how good he is, and that losing every round to Spence was due to him not being accustomed to the welterweight division. The loss left Mikey in a weird spot, as fans knew how good he was, but could not get his performance against Spence out of their heads, especially since he followed it up with a nearly year-long layoff.

His move to welterweight was questionable to begin with, and his first fight being against Spence seemed like it could have been devastating. There is no shame in losing to a fighter of Spence’s caliber, especially when you moved up in weight to fight him, but it was still such a one-sided performance that it seemed like a certainty that Garcia would move back down in weight.

This would have been the perfect debut fight at welterweight for Mikey. Jessie Vargas is a tough veteran who’s only two losses are to Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao, two future Hall-of-Famers. He is the type of guy where if you beat him, you are among the best in the division, and if you aren’t on that top level, you’ll be in a tough fight. He is not a gatekeeper, he’s better than that, but he is still a great measuring stick for someone testing the waters at welterweight.

It is questionable to make this fight following the first loss of his career, and I’m frankly not sure why this was not his first fight in the weight class, but it shows that Garcia is very serious about staying at welterweight. If Mikey is a legit contender in this division, he should be able to defeat Vargas. However, if he struggles or loses, it will be clear that he does not belong at welterweight, and should immediately move back down in weight.

Why Jesse Vargas needs a win:

To be fair, Vargas has less to lose than Mikey. He is viewed as a ‘very good but not great fighter’. He only has two losses, one to Tim Bradley and one to Manny Pacquiao, those are about as good of losses as you can get. He also has draws with Adrien Broner and Thomas Dulorme, which shows just about where Vargas ranks as a fighter. If we were to grade fighters using a letter grade system, he would be a ‘B’ fighter.

Losing to Garcia obviously wouldn’t be great, but his stock would more or less be in the same position. It would simply be par for the course: he can’t beat the elite fighters in the sport, but he will be right there with anyone else.

He can afford to lose, and will still find his way into good fights (and some nice paydays) going forward. There will be a hot prospect coming up in the ranks who needs a quality win against a tough veteran, and that is where Jessie Vargas will come in, as previously mentioned, he is the perfect measuring stick.

However, a win for Vargas would be absolutely huge. He would finally have a win against a top-level fighter, and then all of a sudden his resume would look a lot better. It would also catapult him into position for another big fight against one of the top guys in the division.


Mikey obviously feels he has a future in the division, and he is fighting the perfect measuring stick to determine just that. He would also be in a very bad spot if he suffered back to back losses after going 39-0, so he knows how important the fight is.

This feels like a fight where the skill difference will become apparent as the fight progresses. Vargas is a very good fighter, but Mikey is a great fighter. Vargas will start strong and win some early rounds, but Mikey’s superior skills will help him pull away as the fight progresses, and earn a clear decision victory, setting him up for another big fight in the division (Manny Pacquiao anyone?).

Prediction: Mikey Garcia via Unanimous Decision