By Ricardo Conde
Former two time junior middleweight champion “Ferocious” Fernando Vargas (26-5, 22 KOs) of Oxnard, CA will be promoting his first event, “Melee at McDermont”, under the Vargas Entertainment Promotions banner, along with Roy Englebrecht Promotions, on Saturday, June 19th that will feature former super flyweight champion Martin “El Gallo” Castillo (35-3, 18 KOs) in the main event taking on Vernie Torres (27-12, 15 KOs) of the Philippines at the McDermont Field House in Lindsay, CA. Vargas reached super-stardom early on in his career by becoming the youngest champion in the junior middleweight division’s history and by always putting on an exciting show for the fans with his aggressive style, having fought the likes of Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad as well as many others. He now looks to do the same outside the ring as a promoter.
We recently caught up with Fernando Vargas and asked him a few questions and here’s what he had to say:
You ended your boxing career as a former two-time world champion, with 26 wins, only 5 losses and 22 by knockout but retired at the age of 30, what made you decide to retire at such a young age?
Well, I started my career at the age of 10 and now I’m 32 so I’ve been in the boxing game for a while now, plus I became the youngest champion in junior middleweight history at the age of 21, so I feel I accomplished a lot early in my career, so I decided to take some time off from being a boxer so I can focus mainly on Vargas Entertainment Promotions and making it a strong force in boxing.
What made you decide to become a boxing promoter?
Well, there are only two boxers that are promoters right now, and that’s me and Oscar (De La Hoya), well that are actually licensed. The way I see things, these guys like Don King are on their way out and plus I’m looking to make a difference. Many of these guys who are promoters don’t know what its like to be a boxer; most of them have never taken a punch or threw a punch in their life, they don’t know what its like to risk their lives. They treat us like thorough breds, when you’re winning everything is great and they’re happy with you but when you’re not they don’t pay any attention to you, so me being a fighter and now a promoter, I know what it takes and the hard work that’s put into boxing and I know what a fighter deserves.
You attended Fight Promoter University, founded by Roy Englebrecht, being new to promoting, how important was it to attend that and what was it like?
It was an awesome opportunity to find out exactly what it takes to become a promoter and putting on a great show. When I was fighting all I was concerned with was getting ready for the next fight, I wasn’t involved in putting together the show. Attending Fight Promoter University was a great experience, I learned so much from Roy, knowing the ins-and-outs, and just everything was great.
What’s it like working along side long time fight promoter Roy Englebrecht, how long have you two known each other?
I’ve known Roy for a long time now. Roy has always been a straight shooter, just an awesome individual; he’s going to be part of the Vargas Entertainment Promotions team for years to come.
In the main event, former world champion Martin Castillo will be headlining, can you tell us a little about that, how did that come about and what you think of him as a fighter?
Martin Castillo is a great fighter and a great champion and we wanted to have someone like him headline this card, so I got with Roy and the whole team and we’ve managed to put some great fights together for the 19th of June.
You last fought Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga (28-7-1, 22 KOs) in November 2007 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA, and unfortunately lost via unanimous decision, are there any plans on making a come back?
Well, like I said earlier right now my main focus is on my show, “Melee at McDermont,” at the McDermont Field House in Lindsay, CA which I’m very excited about and putting on a first rate card with Martin Castillo and also local talent from Lindsay. Actually, everyone thinks this is my first show and it’s not, I did a show at the Palms Resort in Las Vegas a few months ago that had Zab Judah in the main event and also featured Joel Casamayor and Salvador Sanchez.
Not too long ago you were at a boxing show, where hundreds of people gathered around you asking for pictures and autographs, how does or did that make you feel to still see such a big following?
I’m very humbled that my people still love me like that and when I say my people I mean all the fans that have supported me throughout my boxing career and who still continue to support me now that I’m a promoter because with out then I’m nothing, we’re nothing. I’m blessed to see everyone still showing me love whether I’m fighting or not, it’s a great feeling and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for that.
What are your future goals for Vargas Entertainment Promotions, where would you like your company to be in five years, ten years down the road?
Well, we plan on putting some more great shows like the one coming up next month throughout the United States and hopefully all over the world. I’m excited about everything that’s happening and we’ll do our best to put on the best show for the fans.
Is there anything you would like to tell the boxing fans out there?
I just want to tell everyone that I appreciate the love they’ve shown me throughout the years and for all their continued support every time they see me. I love all the fans and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for all their support. Everyone can find out more about me or what’s in the works by checking out my website, www.fernandovargas.com or they can follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/elferoz
“Melee at McDermont”, is being be co-promoted by Vargas Entertainment Promotions and Roy Englebrecht Promotions. Tickets are priced at $75, $40 and $25 and can be purchased online at www.meleeatmcdermont.com and at the McDermont Field House office Monday thru Friday. Special VIP Melee Suites that are all inclusive are also being offered for this show at $600 per suite, and include 10 tickets and unlimited food and drink.