Devin Vargas - "Kevin Johnson Will Not Be Able To Match My Punch Output"
Exclusiv interview by James Slater - This coming Friday night, unbeaten young heavyweights Devin Vargas and Kevin Johnson will collide in a fight that will go out live on ESPN2. Originally scheduled to fight Monte Barret and Bruce Seldon respectively, Johnson and Vargas now meet one another in a most intriguing bout.
Article posted on 10.05.2009
Extremely confident the so called step up in class is a winnable fight for him, 27-year-old former Olympian Vargas, 17-0(7) feels the bout presents his opponent with his toughest fight yet - and one that "KingPin" will lose. Kindly taking time out to speak with me earlier today, Devin had the following answers to my questions:
James Slater: It's great to speak with you, Devin. You were training for Bruce Seldon originally and then landed the Johnson fight?
Devin Vargas: Yes. I was originally training for Bruce and they asked me on Tuesday if I wanted to step up and take the fight with Johnson - I said sure..
J.S: Your both unbeaten heavyweights, you feel you are ready to take what they are calling a step up in class for you?
D.V: Yeah, I think I have the advantage actually. I have way more experience than him. I think he only had around 20 amateur fights, whereas I had 250 and fought all over the world and in the Olympics. I feel I have the upper hand with my experience. I've fought far better class fighters than Johnson ever has.
J.S: You're both promoted by Star Boxing, do you know Kevin, have you sparred with him?
D.V: We fought on the same card one time. I watched him fight. He has a good left jab but that's pretty much it - he'll need a lot more than that against me.
J.S: Have you been watching tapes of him, now that you're fighting him?
D.V: I've seen him on the internet. He's pretty much the same every time he fights. He holds his left hand low and he leans back. He's quite one dimensional, really. I think this will be even easier for me than I think myself. He's like an amateur. He's not faced a fighter like me before, who throws a hundred punches a round.
J.S: As I said, they're calling this a step up for you, but it's also just as much a step up for him you think?
D.V: It's more of a step up for him, I think. Like I say, I've met all different styles of fighters, all good talented fighters - this experience of mine will show in the fight. He's in over his head in this fight.
J.S: What type of fight do you expect?
D.V: I never really go in with a game-plan - I see what's the best approach to take when I get in there. I'll figure out which style to use in the first round. If I have to box I can box, if I have to bang I can bang. One thing I will do, though, is pick the pace up right away and throw lots of punches and make him work. He can't keep up with me with my work-rate. If he tries to, he'll be tired by the 5th or 6th round. I expect an exciting fight, at least it will be on my part. I'm never in a boring fight, I get bored myself! The rest [with regards to making the fight exciting] is up to him.
J.S: Johnson's a great talker, and some say he's arrogant. You're a more low key, do-your-talking-in-the-ring, type of guy, aren't you?
D.V: Yes. A lot of time, the guys who talk a lot are doing it because they're afraid. Also, Johnson's a boring fighter, so he has to talk to make himself more marketable. I don't feel I need to talk like that. He's not said anything about me yet, but he probably will at the weigh-in. He'll have nothing to say after I beat him and get my hand raised, though.
J.S: You had a ten month layoff from May of last year until this March. Why was that?
D.V: Me and my promoter were not really seeing things eye to eye. He offered me nine fights, though, but none of the nine wanted to take the fight. When I win this fight on Friday, I will be my promoter's top name heavyweight and hopefully things will happen for me. But during that ten month layoff I was in the gym every day. I took about a week-and-a-half off, that's all. I'm always in the gym.
J.S: Do you feel you are at your peak at age 27, or approaching it?
D.V: I feel I'm approaching it. I've picked up a lot of tricks from fighting all different styles of fighters. I train hard and I punch a lot in fights. No big men can keep up with my punch output. I look up to guys like Pacquiao and Calzaghe - people with real high punch outputs. I'll make it that kind of fight against Johnson, and in doing that I can't lose.
J.S: Do you see a distance fight on Friday?
D.V: Yes, I see a points win. He's a survivor. He's not going to put himself in danger once he feels my power. He'll hold and look to survive. I do expect all ten rounds. But if I catch him right.....!
J.S: What are you hoping a win will lead to for you?
D.V: Hopefully, it will lead me one step closer to my dream fight, which is against Chris Arreola. I know every heavyweight in the U.S wants that fight. I don't just want it for the money, I think that fight will be what the heavyweight division needs. I think it would be a great fight between two guys who like to bang. That fight would be fought at a middleweight pace.
J.S: Do you feel you will be ready for a world title shot this year?
D.V: Yes. I'm ready for anything. If I got six to eight weeks to prepare properly, I would be ready for anyone. Most of my fights, I've only got the call two weeks or so before the fight. With a proper camp, I'd love a shot at the Klitschkos. I don't think they've seen a fighter like me yet. Why box a guy who's 6'7"? (laughs). You have to get on their chest and work. I know that's easier said than done, but I look at what [Lamon] Brewster did against Wladimir. He tired him out and the big guy couldn't last. The real big guys can't go at a fast pace.
J.S: You're hoping for a real big 2009 then?
D.V: That's what I'm hoping for, yes. After this win I want to move forward. I have a big family to support (laughs). I have four sons, and I want to provide for them and make sure they live a good life. Most fighters are fighting for that reason.
J.S: Well, best wishes for Friday, and thanks for taking the time to talk with me.
D.V: Thank you.
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