Saturday’s Road to Victory II has special guest Fernando Vargas

Fernando Vargas' close friend "Smurf" is never far and has his buddy's back.

On Saturday, August 20, at 1 p.m., the Victory Boxing Academy’s Second Annual “Road to Victory” USA Amateur Boxing Show will take place on the Victory Outreach Church grounds at 4235 National Avenue in San Diego and making a special guest appearance at the event is three time world champion Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas, aka “The Aztec Warrior,” the youngest Jr. Middleweight Champion in the history of the sport.


Vargas, now 33 years old, started making his mark in boxing at an early age. After winning the Gold Medal at the Olympic Festival (1994) and seizing the U.S. Championships at 132 pounds at the age of 16, he became the youngest boxer ever to do so.

After turning pro on March 25, 1997, he wasted no time and KO’ed his first 10 opponents, all within the first year. In less than two years he had won the IBF light middleweight title. That’s what you call being on the fast-track.

With his street “cred” coming at such an early age, the who’s who of boxing lined up to face him – guys like Javier Castillijo (almost 10 years his senior), Ike Quartey (8 years older), Yory Boy Campos (6), Raul Marquez (6), Shane Mosley (6), Winky Wright (6), Felix Trinidad (3), Oscar De La Hoya (3 years, nine months), and Ricardo Mayorga (3 years and 2 months).

If your memory is a bit fuzzy or you’re new to the sport, it’s best I give you a quick rundown on his amazing career.

On December 12, 1998, just days after turning 21, Vargas faced Yory Boy Campas, the reigning IBF junior middleweight champ. By the end of the seventh round, with his right eye puffy and mouth cut, Campas quit on his stool. Vargas successfully defended his title throughout 1999, with victories over Howard Clarke, Raul Marquez, Winky Wright and Ike Quartey.

December 2, 2000, Vargas found himself in an all out war versus Felix Trinidad who was making his second defense of the Super Welterweight Title. Trinidad knocked Vargas down twice in the first round. Vargas reciprocated with a knockdown of Trinidad in the fourth round. At 1:33 of the twelfth round, after three knockdowns, Trinidad won by TKO.

On September 14, 2002, Vargas fought Oscar De La Hoya. It was Vargas’ first defense of his IBA and WBA Super Welterweight titles and De La Hoya’s first defense of his WBC title.

De La Hoya’s nose began to bleed near the end of the fifth round, while Vargas bled from a cut under his right eye in the seventh. De La Hoya then stunned Vargas with a left hook following a combination to the body at the end of round 10. Vargas was knocked down early in round 11 by another left hook before referee Joe Cortez stepped in to stop the bout after Vargas offered little resistance to a flurry of punches.

The fight had the second-largest grossing live gate in history for a non-heavyweight bout. De La Hoya’s purse was $15 million. Vargas ended up being suspended for nine months and fined $100,000 when he tested positive for steroids.

Over the next two years, Vargas was hampered by injuries. During the Tony Marshall fight in Tucson, Arizona, he injured a disc in his back and rehabbing caused him to spend almost two years in inactivity. Then in the Javier Castillejo fight, a fight he won, he broke his right hand.

On February 25, 2006, in a WBA Middleweight Title eliminator Sugar Shane Mosley defeated Vargas by TKO at 1:22 in round 10 of 12. Up to that point the judges scores showed the bout was almost dead even.

Vargas’s final fight was against the king of trash talk, Ricardo Mayorga. To avoid a major incident a glass screen had to be installed between the boxers at the weigh-in. The contentious bout went the distance with Mayorga gaining the mixed decision. After the bout, Vargas decided to hang up his gloves, ending his career with 26 wins, 5 losses, with 22 KOs.

Over the years Vargas has shown an enduring affection and respect for his fans and family, people like Tio Pancho, Tio Mario, Smurf, and Sarai Sanchez, aka Crazy Girl. The fans on his website soon become Soldados, members of his personal Ferocious Squad Chapters. I’m certain San Diego boxing fans are anxious to show their love and admiration for this great warrior.

The host of the local boxing show, the Victory Outreach Church of San Diego, also wants to announce that they will be awarding Championship Belts to the winners plus a trophy for both best boxer of the day and best club participation. Organizers of the event suggested that the participating gyms bring along a banner to display and if they’re interested in more pre-match information they can contact Arnulfo Mendivil at (619) 420 0737 or (619) 288-3872 or email him at:

Tickets for the event are $10.00 in advance, $12.00 at the door



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