world boxing

Magsayo seeks knockout in first world title defense

Roy Luarca

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Magsayo seeks knockout in first world title defense

UNDEFEATED. Mark Magsayo (left) vows to keep his perfect record against Rey Vargas.


Mark Magsayo looks to keep his world featherweight crown even as the more experienced and taller Mexican Rey Vargas has been picked the slight favorite over the Filipino

MANILA, Philippines – Mark Magsayo said he’s ready to knock Rey Vargas out in their battle for the World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight belt on Saturday, July 9 (Sunday, July 10, Philippine time) at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

“I’ve worked on a lot of different things with Freddie Roach to make sure that we’re ready for anything Vargas brings. If he wants to come toe-to-toe as he said, then I’m ready to end this fight with a knockout,” said Magsayo, who is defending the 126-pound crown for the first time.

“He always goes backward all fight. I hope this coming fight he’s not gonna run too much. There’s gonna be a knockout if he’s not gonna run too much,” promised Magsayo, who totes a 24-0 card with 16 knockouts.

The Mexican challenger responded with swagger.

“I have an ace up my sleeve, and when that happens, I’m tearing his head off. His confidence may be in the clouds, but the fall is going to hurt,” said Vargas, the former WBC super bantam champion, who’s 35-0 with 22 knockouts.

“Magsayo may want to exchange blows so badly because that may be the only thing he knows how to do. He doesn’t know how to fight otherwise. We will dominate him and take the belt.”

More experienced, taller and longer, Vargas has been installed the slight pick (-115) to beat Magsayo (+100). Meaning a $115 bet on Vargas earns $100. For Magsayo it’s even, $100 for $100.

At 5-foot-10 1/2, Vargas towers over Magsayo by 4 1/2 inches and enjoys a 3-inch reach advantage.

That’s why MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbons made sure Magsayo got tall spar mates at Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.

Roach tapped 5-foot-8 1/2 Juan Carlos Burgos, 5-foot-9 Eduardo Baez, 5-foot-11 Bryan Chevalier, and 5-foot-10 Dominique Crowder to emulate Vargas’ style.

Manning Vargas’ corner is the legendary 82-year-old Nacho Beristain.

Power-wise, Magsayo has the edge with a 66.66 knockout percentage. Although Vargas isn’t too far behind with a 62.85 knockout rate, it must be pointed out that the Mexican has failed to stop an opponent in his last seven fights.

In contrast, Magsayo stopped Pablo Cruz and knocked out Julio Ceja, respectively, before grabbing the title from Gary Russell last January 22.

During the official weigh-in on Friday, Magsayo showed he is determined to dispose of Vargas, making a quick slit-throat gesture before they left the stage. They both checked in at 125.5 pounds.

Magsayo is the lone Filipino boxing champion left following Nonito Donaire’s knockout loss to Naoya Inoue in their bantamweight unification rematch in Saitama, Japan on June 7, and Rene Mark Cuarto’s split decision loss to Daniel Valladares in their International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimumweight title fight in Nuevo Leon, Mexico on July 1. –

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