In just seven days time boxing’s only eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs), from General Santos City, Philippines, collides with WBO welterweight champion Jesse Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs), at the Thomas And Mack Center in Las Vegas on November 5.
Below is what Vargas and trainer Dewey Cooper had to say about the clash with Pacquiao
JESSIE VARGAS: My trainer Dewey Cooper and my strength and conditioning coach David Hayes, Rafael Garcia, my father – we make a great team and they brought out the best in me. They brought out the best in me in March against Sadam Ali and now we are going to outdo that performance in this fight on November 5th. I am very thankful for my manager Cameron Dunkin getting me this opportunity and I can’t wait to perform on the big stage and show what I’m about.
DEWEY COOPER: Hi everyone. I am Dewey Cooper, Jessie Vargas’ boxing trainer. I am thrilled to be here it’s an honor and I feel so blessed to be a part of this magnificent event and to be a part of Jessie’s first pay per view fight and I can guarantee you that this is going to be a great performance by Jessie Vargas. Training camp has been wonderful. We’ve topped every number ten-fold from when we were preparing for Sadam Ali. He has thrown more punches per day than he had thrown for Ali. We have added even more explosive power, more athletic agility, more speed and more total IQ we have added since the last fight we had together. We have more synergy in this training camp and guys, I keep saying in every interview I do don’t forget who the champion is in this fight is and don’t forget who the challenger in this fight is and that’s exactly who we are viewing this guy as – we are viewing him as our opponent, the challenger and we are going to conquer him on November 5th. I am fully confident in Jessie and this is not promoter speak and this is not theatrical hype, I am telling you actual fact. We expect, we know and we will show the whole world on November 5th how great of a fighter Jessie Vargas is and we are looking forward to that night.
CAMERON DUNKIN: Jessie, years ago when he began this, all he talked about was being at this level, being at the highest level, and thank you, Bob, for putting him here he really deserves it and he is getting better every fight and there is going to be a shocker. I really believe he is going to win this fight. He is so dedicated he is training so hard and I just think there is going to be some surprised people. As you know Bob, when this fight was announced everybody was like “No, no, not Jessie.” And they are going to have a lot of Jessie on the 5th.
Manny is ten years older than you, he has been very busy in the Senate in the Philippines and maybe boxing is not his number 1 priority, whereas your team is totally focused – do you think you are getting him at the right time?
JESSIE VARGAS: What I am focused on is that I am in my prime. I have a lot to show and I have a lot to give in this sport and on the 5th I am going to perform at the highest level and as you said, Manny Pacquiao’s best performance in those three [Tim Bradley] fights was in that last fight which was only a few months ago and I’m happy that he was able to give that performance so when I defeat Manny Pacquiao they will see that I beat a good Manny Pacquiao who is still performing at the highest level. That’s the Manny Pacquiao that I want to beat.
What would it to for your life to pull off the upset?
JESSIE VARGAS: It would definitely put me on the world-wide stage – make me that boxing star that I have been looking forward to being. I have been waiting for this for a long time and I’m glad it’s here and I am going to take advantage of it. The only fighters to beat Manny Pacquiao have become legends themselves. So I plan to become one of the few to beat Manny Pacquiao and also become one of the legends.
Bob, what do you think a win does for Jessie Vargas?
BOB ARUM: He becomes not just a champion but a superstar. I will deny to him that I said that because I will have to negotiate his next fight (laughing). He would be a superstar there is no question about that if he were to beat Manny Pacquiao. He has a hell of a shot to do that. This fight I look at both guys trained for the fight and how explosive it’s going to be but I don’t know who is going to win, but I’m confident it will b by knockout. Jessie has a hell of a shot to win this fight.
DEWEY COOPER: The biggest illusion the devil ever pulled on the world was to make us think he doesn’t exist. If you are thinking Pacquiao is only half prepared in this fight or not mentally ready for this fight you are not the expert writer. We are not hearing anything about the Senate – he is an eight-time world champion and he knows how to get ready for a big fight. So we expect the best Manny Pacquiao and we are going to beat the best Manny Pacquiao. I don’t want to hear anything else except how great he trained, how Freddie has him prepared and great he is going to fight. At the end of the day we don’t want to hear any excuses after the fight. We are defending champions and he is the challenger and once we win this fight we are not going to hear about Senate duties and all of that. He knows how to prepare for a fight and we are sure he has. And we are sure we are going to be the better man on November 5th.
Is there any bit of you that is in awe that you are fighting a legend?
JESSIE VARGAS: Not at all this is where I belong. I’ve been waiting for this moment since I was eight years old. This moment is not so big. It’s here an I am going to take full advantage of it When you envision something in your head over and over again it’s like a movie placing you in that position and once you are there you’re ready. That’s the way I see it. I am so ready for this. I am in the best shape of my life. I have never felt this strong or this powerful. I mean there’s no…I am going to win this fight, that’s how good I feel about it.
You won a title at 140 now another at 147 it seems like you have a lot of confidence…
JESSIE VARGAS: I would say overall what gives me that confidence is the team that I have. They are bringing out the best in me I said that when we became a two-division world champion. We won the welterweight title in March. Again, we are looking to surpass the level that we were in in March. I will outdo that performance on November 5th. You are going to see a faster, stronger, more hunter, more intelligent and with better ring IQ. Just overall a better fighter and it’s all because of my team – my coach Dewey Cooper, my strength and conditioning coach David Hayes and Rafael Garcia my cut man. We have such great team chemistry and I have the best of the best and that’s why I feel so confident.
Dewey, when you joined Jessie’s camp was there anything in particular you wanted to work on?
DEWEY COOPER: Yes, the first time we met to train at City Boxing Gym we talked about some things and we had a good understanding and we had a role we did it his way and we did t my way and whatever it took to make them both mesh we’ll do. It was a just a few technical things that I had seen that Jessie needed to do a little more of. He already knew how to do them he just wasn’t doing them as much. He was open-minded and we grew together but remember, I’ve got to say it like this. I didn’t teach Jessie shit, he already had it in him. I just helped him acknowledge it and re-bring it out. I’m not trying to overdo it with the credit. I identified things that he had lost through all the training he had done and brought those back out in his physical exercises and his technical boxing. We have improved even more since the Sadam Ali fight and we are ready to show the world. This moment is not too big for us guys. We are the champions.
Did you work on techniques to improve his punching power?
DEWEY COOPER: Absolutely we did but once we identified the slight technical error, we had drills that we used to enhance that natural power. Everything that he is doing now is natural power. There are just some exercises that are conducive to make it more natural instead of so forced. And that’s what we did. We just put a magical formula together. Jessie trusted it and he believed in it. He feels it in his knuckles. He feels it in his forearms when he hits. He feels it in his hips when he hits. It’s a natural thing. For anyone in the world to say they can’t improve on something is just ignorant. We can improve our reading speed. We can improve our running speed. We can improve our strength on the bench press, so why wouldn’t we be able to improve our punching power. It’s about technique and doing the right exercises and specific movements to make you improve. It’s not rocket science. We are just smart enough to limit ourselves and our possibilities. We can do the improbable. We can do the impossible and that’s exactly what’s going to happen on November 5th.
Is it a dangerous way to fight Pacquiao – to come out and go right after him?
JESSIE VARGAS: We do have Plan A. And Plan B is to follow plan A. And Plan C is to make sure Plan A works. And it will work. It’s just about playing it smart and being the smarter fighter inside that ring. The right moment and the right time and looking for the opening and creating the openings. At the end of the day, come fight time, what are the right movements. I am a fighter and I am going to know what to do. I have a great team behind me and we came up with a great plan and in training camp everything has been coming along just as we have planned and on November 5th it’s going to be a great night of boxing and I’m going to enjoy my performance.
Marquez KO’d Manny with the right counter – is that something you will try and use?
JESSIE VARGAS: My trainer has reviewed several of Manny Pacquiao’s fight and made a game plan. We have several shots that we can use – it could be a hook or it could be a right hand. I am going to do it to my style and my liking and the moment that I choose to do it. I am not here to imitate any other fighter. I am here to do Jessie Vargas and move like I like to move with the punches and combinations that I like to throw. Stay tuned. I am going to surprise and you don’t want to miss it.
I saw your fight against Sadam Ali and the power was real there is no doubt about that and I’m looking forward to a great fight. Do you think if you had more time you would have finished Bradley off in that last round?
JESSIE VARGAS: You know, to be honest, that has been left in the past and there is nothing we can do to change it. You know how I feel about it but now we are fighting Manny Pacquiao. My job is to defeat Manny Pacquiao and to show that I’m the best in the division. Defeating a man that Bradley couldn’t beat on that last occasion will say it all for itself. That will give me the ultimate glory and he doesn’t want to give me a rematch. So we are looking forward to this fight at the highest level and keep in mind that in 2016 I put out the team that has brought out the best in me and we are unstoppable from that point on.
That was your only defeat in you pro career. What was your mood after that?
JESSIE VARGAS: It was a learning experience, everything that happened. Not everything is fair and we had to let things go. That’s just the way it is and I am using it as an experience and make sure I let my hands go from the opening bell, not until nearly the last round you could say. It gave me that fire that anger to, excuse me if I say it, to really hurt somebody or kill somebody inside that ring, and to take it and not have any compassion for my opponent. That has built a stronger Jessie Vargas and of course the team I have put together.
Many have noticed your punching power seems to have increased in the Bradley and the Ali fight – do you feel that way?
JESSIE VARGAS: Definitely – ever since I began working with the team I have now my punching power has increased and my ring IQ – just the entire way I have looked at the fight game has changed. A new Jessie Vargas was born in 2016 and everyone seems to like it and now we are going to give you a bigger and better Jessie Vargas come November 5th.
How do you increase you power in one fight?
JESSIE VARGAS: That’s a better question for Dewey.
DEWEY COOPER: Everything is created by the way you utilize your techniques. I am not going to give you guys the secrets – the game is to be sold not told. You will see it. But I will give you one key word and I told Max Kellerman and Bernard Hopkins and Jim Lampley this and after the Ali fight they laughed at me. One word – Hips – H I P S – that’s all you need to remember, hips guys. That’s all I am going to say and I shouldn’t have given you the million dollar clue but that’s what it’s about and you guys will continue to see that and continue to see Jessie Vargas be great.
So you are better leveraging your punches by using the hips?
BOB ARUM: Do you want him to tell everyone the sequence he is going to throw the punches? They have to keep some things to themselves!
Jessie, how do you see this fight going in your mind?
JESSIE VARGAS: I see Jessie Vargas coming out with a big victory in front of the entire world in spectacular fashion and surprise everyone. Everyone is going to give me credit for being the strongest and most powerful puncher in the division.
You are 5’10” and Manny is 5’5” – how will that play out?
JESSIE VARGAS: I am going to use every advantage I have in this fight – as an experienced fighter we have to use every advantage and we will. And that is one of the advantages along with the power, the reach, the ring intelligence, the great footwork.
Who would you want to fight next?
JESSIE VARGAS: After beating Manny Pacquiao I would fight anybody. We have Bob on the line so I would sit down with Bob and Cameron and see who they want next.
BOB ARUM: Every fighter, deep down, wants to beat up on his promoter. I’m 85 years old, but Jessie had a promoter before me named Floyd Mayweather and maybe Jessie will take the opportunity, if Floyd is ready, to beat up on Floyd.
JESSIE VARGAS: Definitely I will take you up on that one.
Is there no one you have in mind?
JESSIE VARGAS: My promoter said it all. I am taking on the Fighter of the Decade and defeating the Fighter of the Decade and you could only go up from there. And who’s the next guy that is as the great? That’s who we will go after.
How were you feeling after the Bradley fight while trying to get the decision overturned?
JESSIE VARGAS: Thankfully I have a great support system and I use it and the process I had with the Commission and when I brought in all of my legal attorneys, I was very patient and I let them handle it as best as they could and that’s the way I saw it and once they came up with the decision I said OK I am only looking forward to the future. What doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger and it has but more than anything I see it as a blessing. If that wouldn’t have happened I wouldn’t have the team that I have now. I would be at the highest level now and you wouldn’t see me performing as the fighter that I have become. It’s because of that and that’s the way I look at it and those are the facts to it. Dewey and Pedro and my father have made a great team and because of them you are going to see a spectacular performance from me on November 5th.
DEWEY COOPER: I want to interject something. To finally end the Bradley questions that was turmoil and almost a tragedy. Boys whimper out. Men figure out a way to get through it. But conquerors persevere and become more powerful. Jessie is a conqueror. He is not the average man. He is a conqueror. He is not the average man. You have to persevere through that and become more powerful. Remember that. Turmoil and tragedy makes the boys whimper. Men get through it, but conquerors persevere and become more powerful and that’s what Jessie is and that’s how I feel about the Bradley scenario.
CAMERON DUNKIN: He had a bright future and it was a setback and he did take it very, very hard. It was hard on him. He was not used to losing. We talked and he wanted to go through the steps of what he could do with the commission and when that was over, Jessie dropped it and he was done with it and he said “Cameron, let’s move on” and that’s what we did.
You turned down the Ali fight last year then you got it when you wanted it and you won – do you feel as though you are getting the last laugh fighting the most popular fighter in the world right now?
JESSIE VARGAS: Going back a few steps, Cameron has always been right on point with my career. I was always looking for bigger and better opportunities. He called me about the Sadam Ali fight and I was OK with it and said sure. Cameron did mention the fight would be in New York and we knew that recently, about certain decisions being made in New York that a lot of people didn’t agree with so it made us thing twice about it. It literally only took us about a month to change the venue and then got the fight made. So it wasn’t about whether I wanted it. It was about negotiating the right location. We did it at a neutral place, even though it was more his side [of the country] than mine, but I was OK with Washington, DC. The fans enjoyed it and the network was really happy with it and the entire arena went crazy. It was a good night of boxing.
JESSIE VARGAS: The reason I say that is because I never say “No” to any fight. You can ask Cameron right now, when he mentions any fight I say “Let’s take it.” I don’t say no to any fight, just tell me where when, how much and let’s make it happen.
IN CLOSING . . .
BOB ARUM: You heard Jessie and Dewey today, two class guys who know what they are talking about and they have prepared themselves well and they are going to give everybody a tremendous night of boxing. And remember, while you’re at it, there are three other championship fights on the card. Another fight between a Mexican-American and a Filipino – Nonito Donaire vs. undefeated No. 1 contender Jessie Magdaleno - and Óscar Valdez, a rising star and a Featherweight World Champion against Hiroshige Osawa, the No. 1 contender from Japan. Then we have the Flyweight championship – Zou Shiming against the Prasitak Papoem of Thailand, who has won 12 straight fights by knockout. It should be a terrific night of boxing – not just one world championship fight, as good as that fight is, it’s a full night of boxing that we are offering to the fans, both at Pay-Per-View, closed-circuit locations, online via www.toprank.tv and of course at the famous Thomas & Mack Center.
DEWEY COOPER: We are blessed to be here. We are building a legacy right now and we are the champions. We are the defending champions. We will retain our WBO world title and STILL – Jessie Vargas baby.
JESSIE VARGAS: I can’t top that! Dewey topped it off with facts. Tune in November 5th.
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October 28 2016