MANILA, Philippines – Being a world champion does not change Mark Magsayo’s approach to a fight in any way.
He still wants to train long and hard. Especially if he’s pitted against a touted opponent like Mexican Rey Vargas. No wonder, after a 19-day visit and vacation in the Philippines, Magsayo will be returning to Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 23, to start his preparations for his title defense against the towering Vargas on July 9 in San Antonio, Texas.
“Training with Freddie Roach starts in April,” an upbeat Magsayo said in Filipino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday, March 22.
Magsayo, the pride of Tagbilaran City, Bohol, will hold training camp at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, where he also trained for his fight with Gary Russell Jr.
The 26-year-old Magsayo beat the favored Russell via majority decision to wrest the World Boxing Council featherweight belt on January 23 at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Now, Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) will have to hurdle another tough foe in the 31-year-old Vargas, a former WBC super bantamweight champion who holds a 35-0 card with 22 knockouts.
“I’ll be challenged again. This will be an exciting fight because he’s good, undefeated, and is tall,” said Magsayo, who at 5-foot-6 and a half, will be giving away 4 inches in height, and 3 inches in reach to Vargas. “He has some advantages, but I also have mine,” he continued.
Before leaving the country, Magsayo paid a courtesy call on his idol and benefactor, Senator Manny Pacquiao, and got valuable tips from boxing’s only eight-division world champion.
“The senator told me that when I’m battling taller opponents I should have a lot of head movements, and throw a lot of counters,” said Magsayo. “He also told me to double up on my training because I am now the defending champion.”
MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbons appeared with Magsayo in the weekly PSA session, and said he knew Vargas would be next in line for Magsayo.
“You know when you’re the champ, whoever they offer you, whoever they put in front of you, that’s who you would have to fight when it’s a mandatory [title defense],” said Gibbons. – Rappler.com