The upcoming Miguel Cotto vs Canelo Alvarez match is being heralded as a modern day super fight, one to rival the glorious middleweight battles of yesteryear and to add an exciting chapter to the storied Puerto Rico vs Mexico rivalry. But before these two stars of the fight game step through the ropes to battle it out, there will be an equally enticing match on the undercard.
Just before the main event, Japan’s WBC super featherweight champion, Takashi Miura (29-2-2), will defend his title against Mexico’s rising phenom, Francisco Vargas (22-0-1). The bout will be the first on American soil for the heavy-handed Japanese southpaw and a chance for him to showcase his exciting style to Western fight fans.
Miura, a stable mate of pound-for-pound king Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, has developed an imposing reputation in his homeland of Japan, having fought all but one of his 33 bouts there. It was a chance to fight for the WBC title against Gamaliel Diaz in Mexico that eventually got Miura to stray from home in March of 2013 and he returned with the title in hand after stopping the champion in round nine.
However, it should be noted that the Diaz bout wasn’t the first time Miura had fought for a world title. In Japan he suffered a loss against namesake and fellow hard hitter Takashi Uchiyama back in January of 2011. Miura retired at the end of the eighth round after suffering an horrific eye injury against the WBA super-featherweight champion. Miura was behind on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage but had floored the champion in the third round with his powerful straight left.
It’s been almost five years since the loss and a vastly improved Miura finally looks to make his mark on the American boxing scene. He faces an intriguing opponent in Vargas, who has his own history of heavy-handed theatrics, having stopped 16 of his 23 opponents in his run up to this title shot. Vargas, from Mexico City, has some decent scalps of his own, beating the likes of former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez, as well as highly regarded Australian Will Tomlinson and Abner Cotto. But Takashi Miura is in a whole different league and on November 21 we will learn whether Francisco Vargas is a truly world-class boxer. In any case, this match promises to be action packed, as both fighters have shown they love to mix it up.
Interestingly, while this will be Miura’s fifth defense of his title, it is also the sixth bout in his last nine against a Mexican opponent and his success against fighters from “Tierra Azteca” has recently inspired some to refer to him as a new “Mexicutioner.” Will Vargas be the next Mexican warrior to fall to Miura’s fists?
Miura is confident of a big win and at the time the match was signed stated: “Francisco Vargas has proved himself to be a tough competitor but, I have repeatedly fought to keep my WBC title and on November 21 I will show American fans once again why I am a champion.”
The challenger is just as confident. “To add the WBC title to my NABF and WBO Intercontinental titles would be the ultimate victory and a great ending to 2015,” stated Vargas. “Takashi Miura better be ready because I am coming for him on November 21.”
More recently, Vargas has spoken of his desire to put an end to Miura’s winning ways against Mexican boxers. “I am motivated because of the streak that Miura has built against other Mexican fighters,” Vargas told BoxingScene.com. “He’s fought a lot of Mexicans but not anyone like me. I am fast and I know how to work at a distance as well as toe-to-toe. Now is the time for a Mexican to beat him!”
Whether the less experienced Vargas has the necessary tools to snatch Miura’s WBC belt is yet to be seen but one thing is certain, both men will be ready to wage war under one of the brightest spotlights of 2015. While Cotto vs Canelo is the main attraction, don’t sleep on Miura vs Vargas. — Daniel Attias