Former 4-division world champion Mikey Garcia will be making his return to the ring after taking nearly a year off on Saturday, as he faces off against two-division champion Jessie Vargas. The welterweight contest will headline a DAZN streamed card from The Ford Center at The Star, in Frisco, Texas.
Garcia (39-1, 30 KO) is fresh off of the first defeat of his professional career against current WBC/IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in March of 2019. In that fight, Garcia lost a lopsided unanimous decision, as he was dominated by the bigger, stronger, welterweight. It was also his first fight at 147 pounds.
Despite his inability to perform well in his welterweight debut, Garcia opts to compete at 147 pounds for now, against a more seasoned fighter at that weight.
While Garcia has had just one fight at welterweight, Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KO) has competed at welterweight for the past seven fights over the course of five years. Since his last defeat to all-time boxing great Manny Pacquiao in November 2016, Vargas has gone 2-0-2 in his last four bouts: wins against Aaron Herrera and Humberto Soto and draws against four-division champion Adrien Broner and Thomas Dulorme. Vargas’ fight against Garcia will likely be his toughest test since Pacquiao.
In the co-main event, former pound-for-pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez will fight for the WBA super flyweight title against reigning champ Kal Yafai.
In early 2017, Gonzalez (48-2, 40 KO) topped the pound-for-pound lists of many hardcore fans and seemed almost unbeatable when he defended his WBC super flyweight title against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. However, Gonzalez lost an upset decision and was brutally knocked out in a rematch with Sor Rungvisai later that year.
Since then, Gonzalez has racked up two wins over the course of two years. First, he stopped Moises Fuentes in the fifth round in September 2018, then he stopped Diomel Diocos in the second round in December 2019.
Winning another world title from Yafai on Saturday would be huge for Gonzalez, as it would be the first step towards returning to what he once was. Also, a win for Gonzalez could set up a possible unification rematch between himself and super flyweight titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada sometime in the near future. Estrada, who lost a decision to Gonzalez in 2012, lifted the WBC title from Sor Rungvisai in April 2019 and now appears to be the premiere talent at 115 pounds.
Although Yafai (26-0, 15 KO) is an unbeaten world champion, he has not faced any fighters on the level of Gonzalez. But he has defended his title six times, with his most recent defense being a unanimous decision victory over Norbelto Jimenez in June 2019.
Also on the main card is WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez defending his title for the first time against Jay Harris.
Martinez (15-1, 12 KO) won a vacant WBC title when he stopped Cristofer Rosales inside nine rounds in December 2019 in Phoenix, AZ. Before his title-winning effort against Rosales, Martinez had challenged for that same belt against Charlie Edwards in August 2019. Unfortunately for Martinez, that bout was called a ‘no-contest’ as it was decided by the officials that Edwards was stopped by punches after the bell in the third round.
Harris (17-0, 9 KO) is coming off of a fourth-round knockout victory over Paddy Barnes in October 2019. For Harris, Saturday night’s fight versus Martinez would not only be the first world title opportunity of his professional career, but also the first real significant fight of his career as well.
Saturday night’s action will also include former WBO heavyweight titleholder Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KO) looking to earn his third consecutive victory against Shawndell Winters (13-2, 12 KO).