Jessie Vargas not moved by Adrien Broner’s antics for pity
Adrien Broner and Jessie Vargas took decidedly different approaches to a Thursday news conference preceding their fight this weekend: Broner groaned on about how the world seems to be against him, while Vargas remained calm in his three-piece suit and plotted how victory over the former four-division champion can hasten his plan to upend the talented welterweight division.
“Nothing is ever given to you. If you did something to deserve an opportunity, it’s up to you to take advantage of it,” Vargas said. “In order for you to want more, you have to be willing to better yourself as a fighter to achieve what you want.
“That’s the way I see it. I want to achieve being a pound-for-pound world champion.”
Los Angeles-born Vargas, 28, is a former welterweight champion who relinquished the belt to Manny Pacquiao by a 2016 unanimous decision.
He took a year off before dominating Aaron Herrera in Lancaster in December, and now has his sights on injured World Boxing Council/World Boxing Assn. champion Keith Thurman.
“Making the check and leaving the sport, that’s not what I’m doing,” Vargas said after banking the Pacquiao purse. “What we can gain from each opportunity, that’s what I’m doing.”
A far cry from that was Broner, who was defeated by Mikey Garcia last year, and decided to play music from his headphones, “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton, when asked to make an introductory statement at Thursday’s news conference.
He called the session “fake-…” and “garbage,” taunted Vargas with a derogatory name and blasted Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe for being “against me,” aiming another vulgar term at him after previously aspiring earlier in his career to follow Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s career path.
“Shut up, you ain’t with me. I’m gonna be victorious,” Broner told Ellerbe. “They want A.B. to go out … they don’t want me to be in nice cars, they don’t want me to be in Rolexes, they don’t want me to be in private jets.
“They want me to lose this fight, go up under the rug and never be talked about again. But guess what, man, I trained my [rear] off, I’m not losing to no Jessie Vargas.”
Vargas listened and said he thought Broner was acting “the clown.”
“He was just speaking nonsense, none of it made sense,” Vargas said. “He was given a lot of opportunities and now he feels like the victim. Some people just think about themselves and want things given to them. It can only be given a certain amount of times before you have to perform for it.”
Vargas said he is intent to perform to the best of his ability in the main event of a Showtime triple-header that begins at 6 p.m. PDT Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and also features unbeaten middleweight Jermall Charlo against Oxnard’s Hugo Centeno Jr., and former world champions Gervonta Davis and Jesus Cuellar in a super-featherweight bout.
Vargas (28-2, 10 knockouts) said he wants to sharpen his focus on Thurman, who hasn’t fought since March 2017 and has withdrawn from a scheduled May bout with a hand injury.
“It’s bad news that [Thurman] has been hurt and holding those belts hostage,” Vargas said. “You have to be willing to go up against the best, and he’s expressed … how he wants easy fights. Once you’re in that position, you can’t ask for easy fights.”
Mandatory WBC contender Shawn Porter is calling for Thurman to vacate the belt in a division that also counts unbeatens Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford.
“I’m becoming stronger physically and mentally, and any knowledge I didn’t have, I have now because … of a fighter who was extremely talented and had a ton of experience I was able to gain from,” Vargas said. “Not too many can say they were in the best, and provided entertaining matches … my fights are competitive.
“And I have to beat Adrien Broner to continue upon my journey.”
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