December 18, 1998
"LINE `EM UP": On December 12, "Ferocious" Fernando Vargas (15-0, 15 KO's) dismantled champion "Yory Boy" Campas in seven rounds to capture the IBF junior middleweight crown (TKO 7). Vargas closed Campas' right eye, re-broke his nose, and forced him to retire on his stool. The championship belt was the perfect birthday gift for Vargas who on December 7 celebrated his 21st birthday. Following Vargas' overwhelming victory, Main Events President Dino Duva left little doubt as to his plans for Vargas's future: "Fernando will clean out the junior middleweight division. We're going to line up the opposition for Vargas and watch him knock them off one at a time"... Following the bout Campas claimed that he was forced to quit because of a thumb in the eye in round two. One boxing pundit best summarized the disbelief of ringside observers who heard this excuse: "Yeah, Campas got a thumb in the eyealong with four other fingers"...
PRAISE FOR THE NEW CHAMPION: Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward believes that great things await Vargas: "Three's a lot of tension for a young fighter in his first world championship belt. He showed no fear and he didn't get tired. The best is yet to come from Fernando. He's going to become a great champion. And I'll tell you thisis he fights Oscar de la Hoya, he beats Oscar de la Hoya...
MORE VARGAS: The Vargas-Campas bout scored a 9.0 television rating on HBO's "World Championship Boxing" series. The main event, featuring Arturo Gatti and Ivan Robinson, scored a 10.5 rating... Just a few interesting facts about Vargas and his title winning effort:
a) Vargas has been a professional boxer for only 19 months.
b) Vargas is the youngest junior middleweight champion in boxing history: 21 years and 5 days. The previous youngest junior middleweight champion was Denny Moyer who was 23 years and 2 months when he captured the vacant crown on October 20, 1962.
c) Vargas is the youngest champion that Main Events has ever promoted. Meldrick Taylor was 21 years and 11 months when he defeated James "Buddy" McGirt on September 3, 1998.
MAIL-ORDER BELTS: David Tua (32-1, 27 KO's) refuses to wait. On Saturday, December 19, Tua will battle Hasim Rahman for Rahman's USBA and IBF Intercontinental belts. When a championship belt changes bands, the former champion keeps his belt, while the new champion receives a new belt. Tua is so confident that he's going to beat Rahman that he has already asked that both belts be made prior to the bout so that when he returns home to New Zealand after the fight to celebrate Christmas with his family, he can bring the belts home with him...
CHRISTMAS WISH LIST:
Zabdiel Judah: Terron Millet on the undercard of the Holyfield-Lewis unification bout on March 13, 1999, for the IBF junior welterweight title that Vince Phillips is supposedly vacating.
David Tua: When the bell rings on December 19 sounding round one, Rahman is in the ring across from him.
Andrew Golota: Tyson in 1999.
Pernell Whitaker: "Tito's" IBF welterweight belt.
Michael Grant: A shot the heavyweight crown before the millennium.
FORREST: THE DARK HORSE OF THE WELTERWEIGHT? On December 12, undefeated NABF welterweight sensation Vernon Forrest (26-0, 21 KO's) added another victim to his spectacular knockout resume. The tall, strong, Thomas Hearns-like welterweight annihilated Ed Griffin at 2:38 of round two...
Jose Luis Lopez (42-42, 33 KO's) broke his hand in round two of his decision loss to James Page on December 5, 1998... On January 30, 1999, undefeated heavyweight sensation Michael Grant (28-0, 20 KO's) will challenge Ahmad Abdin in a 12 round bout on HBO's "Boxing After Dark" program. Fighting on the under-card will be heavyweight Jeremy Williams (33-2, 30 KO's), junior lightweight Robbie Peden (10-0, 7 KO's) and Cuban heavyweight Eliecer Castillo (15-1, 10 KO's)...