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vargas_lrg1.jpg (4466 bytes) As the Oscar de la Hoya express rolls across America, the "Golden Boy" may want to check his rear-view mirror because another Mexican-American boxer is quickly closing in on him. Oxnard, CA native and 1996 Olympian Fernando Vargas leaves no doubt as to his intentions: "I want to win a world title and the guy I want to destroy for the crown is Oscar de la Hoya."      E-MAIL FERNANDO

Vargas began consolidating his many amateur titles at the age of 14. In 1992, Vargas won the 132-pound
championship at the Junior Olympic Box-Offs and came in second at the Junior Olympic Box-Offs and came in
second at the Junior Olympics that same year. In 1993, the five-foot-ten Vargas won the triple crown of
amateur boxing. He was the 132-pound champion at the Junior Olympic Box-Offs, the Junior Olympics and
the Junior Olympic International tournament. The following year he solidified his position as one of the premier
amateur fighters in the world by winning the Gold Medal at the Olympic Festival at 132-pounds, the US Junior
Championship at 132 pounds and by becoming the youngest fighter ever to win the US Championships. Vargas
continued his assault on the amateur boxing world in 1995 by moving up to the 139-pound division and
capturing a Bronze Medal at the Pan American Games. Shortly thereafter, Vargas was selected for the 1996
US Olympic Team.

The Olympic Games in Atlanta were supposed to be the defining moment of Vargas' brilliant amateur career. It
turned out instead to be the defining moment of amateur boxing. Spectators and experts alike learned that "you
may beat your opponent, but the ridiculous computer scoring system that we use, may beat you." Vargas' hard
work went un-rewarded, and although a terrific amateur career (100-5) ended on a down note, the future was

Putting his Olympic disappointment behind him, Vargas enthusiastically turned pro. His debut was set for his
hometown of Oxnard, CA on November 22, 1996. While training for the bout, Vargas broke his right hand,
putting his professional prizefighting career in jeopardy. But Vargas' mental toughness would not allow any
injury to derail his dreams. He approached his physical therapy with the same devotion that he applies to his
conditioning, and within no time his hand healed and he was ready for his pro-debut.

In his professional debut on March 25, 1997, the young lion Vargas crushed Jorge Morales--a veteran of 33
bouts--in just 56 seconds. Immediately, a star was born.

After eliminating Claude Staten and Bill Burden in consecutive second-round knockouts, Vargas mercilessly
battered the overmatched Jim Maloney (TKO 1). In less than three minutes of work, Vargas bloodied
Maloney's nose and sent him sailing through the ropes into the arms of one of the judges.

On July 12, 1997, Eugene Lopez met the same fate as Maloney, shattering after receiving a crippling left hook
to the body (KO 1).

On August 19, 1997, Vargas battled Kevin Payne--a promising young fighter himself who had won seven of
his first eight professional bouts. Vargas stormed through Payne just as he had stormed through his first five
opponents, landing a bone-shattering combination at 1:13 of round one that sent Payne reeling to the canvas,
unable to arise (KO 1).

In six professional fights Vargas had fought a total of only eight rounds.

On October 4, 1997, in what was undoubtedly his finest performance as a professional, Vargas dismantled
tough veteran Alex Quiroga. Quiroga's relentless style forced Vargas to war for three minutes of every round.
Despite possessing a granite chin and lethal punching power, Quiroga was unable to fend off Vargas' vicious
onslaught. Vargas mauled Quiroga with devastating overhand rights and bone-crunching left hooks to the
ribcage, forcing referee Eddie Cotton to stop the bout in the sixth round (TKO 6). So dominating was
"Ferocious" Fernando that it appeared midway through round five as if Quiroga was looking to the referee to
halt the bout.

After flooring Jose Fernandez three times in round one on November 22, 1997 to stretch his professional
knockout string to eight, Vargas battled New Orleans brawler Eduardo Martinez.

On December 13, 1997, Vargas exterminated Martinez with a vicious barrage midway through round two
(TKO 2). Vargas landed a left hook, rocking Martinez before flooring him with a brutal combination.
Recognizing that Martinez could not rise to his feet, the referee halted the bout while Martinez sat on the
canvas. So stunned was Martinez by the Vargas assault that when the ringside physician asked him what he had
been hit with, Martinez responded, "Everything."

The Vargas express rolled through Atlantic City, NJ on March 13, 1998, as Vargas thrashed the tough,
well-schooled Dan Connolly (TKO 2). A blistering series of left hooks and uppercuts early in round two forced
the referee to jump onto Vargas' back to prevent him from inflicting any further punishment on the game
Connolly. Vargas' victory raised the eyebrows of boxing insiders who were aware that it had taken 1996 gold
medallist David Reid five rounds to dispatch of Connolly in their November 22, 1997 match.

After destroying Ron Johnson (TKO 4) and top contender Anthony Stephens (KO 5) in consecutive bouts,
Vargas received his first opportunity to headline an HBO fight card.

On August 22, 1998, Vargas battled rugged New Jersey native Darren Maciunski in the co-feature bout to the
Arturo Gatti-Ivan Robinson 10 round war. Both bouts were broadcast live on HBO's "Boxing After Dark"
program. Vargas, anxious to punish Maciunski for the belittling comments spewed by the Jersey brawler prior
to the bout, did not disappoint boxing fans who had stayed up late to watch the highly-acclaimed boxing series.

Fernando hammered Maciunski from the opening bell, flattening the relentless challenger in round one with a
jaw-shattering overhand right. Conditions grew worse for Maciunski in round two as he tasted the canvas for
the second time in the bout, courtesy of another crippling right cross. In rounds three through six, despite
suffering a head-butt induced cut that later required 12 stitches, Vargas mercilessly battered Maciunski around
the ring, badly bruising the game, but overmatched, challenger. Finally, with less than 30 seconds remaining in
round six, Vargas landed in excess of 10 unanswered punches, forcing the referee to halt the bout with just
three seconds remaining in the round (TKO 6).

Vargas struck swiftly on the evening of December 12, 1998 in Atlantic City, NJ. Early in round two a left-jab,
overhand right combination opened a cut above Campas' right eye. In round three an overhand right buckled
the legs of the champion. By the end of round six Campas wanted to quit. Diaz warned his fighter in the corner
before round seven: "If you don't win this round, I'm going to stop this fight."

Midway through round seven an overhand right sent Campas' bloody mouthpiece sailing to the canvas. Four
consecutive left hooks stunned Campas and brought the crowd to its feet. Moments later, an inside right
staggered Campas again. Although he was able to finish the round, "Yory Boy" was clearly a beaten fighter
psychologically, as well as physically.

Campas had had enough. Walking back to his corner following the end of round seven, Campas signaled to his
trainer Miguel Diaz to stop the fight. Unable to see out of his swollen-shut right eye and bleeding profusely from
his mouth, "Yory Boy" surrendered his IBF junior middleweight crown rather than subject himself to further
punishment at the hands of the young lion who glared at him from across the ring. Overjoyed at Campas'
submission, "Ferocious" Fernando Vargas sped across the ring in triumph to salute the adoring crowd. Little did
those fans realize that they were applauding the youngest junior middleweight champion in boxing history:
21 years and 5 days old.

"Ferocious" Fernando Vargas drew first blood Saturday Night (3/13/99, Holyfield V. Lewis Card).
Undefeated IBF  junior middleweight champion "Ferocious" Fernando Vargas (16-0, 16 KO’s) successfully
defended his crown for the first time on March 13 when he floored IBF #13 ranked contender Howard Clarke
four times in round four to force a stoppage (TKO 4). The tough, game challenger was unable to withstand
Vargas’ crippling left hooks to the ribs, and was unable to repel Vargas’ punishing left jab/overhand right
combinations . . . What’s next for the young champion? An HBO date in June or July . . .

In his last bout on July 17, 1999, Vargas battered former IBF jr. middleweight champion Raul Marquez for 11
rounds to retain his IBF crown for the second time (TKO 11). Marquez, who displayed a granite chin and a
champion's heart, was unable to nullify Vargas' superior hand and foot speed. Vargas stung Marquez with 2-3
punch combinations while performing a boxing clinic that stunned ringside observers with its precision and

On October 16, the World Boxing Hall of Fame named Vargas their 1999 "Fighter of the Year."

In his last bout on December 4, 1999, Vargas successfully defended his crown for the third time, capturing a majority decision over the IBF's #1 mandatory challenger Ronald "Winky" Wright (W 12). In a give-and-take brawl from the opening bell, the two fighters traded bombs for the majority of the bout, until Vargas stormed ahead in the championship rounds (rounds 10-12) winning two of the last three rounds on two judges' scorecards and all three final rounds on the third judge's scorecard.

In February 2000, Washington Redskins Strength & Conditioning Consultant John Philbin joined Team Vargas.  Philbin has worked with the Redskins for seven seasons and has worked with numerous world-class athletes, such as, Herschel Walker, Edwin Moses, Willie Gault, Renaldo Nehemiah and Darrell Green.

In his last bout on April 15, 2000, Vargas launched himself into boxing stardom by dominating former WBA welterweight champion Ike Quartey to capture a unanimous decision by the scores of 116-111, 116-111 and 114-113 (W 12).  Vargas outjabbed, outpunched and outgutted Quartey to successfully defend his crown for the fourth time.  Las Vegas Review Journal boxing writer Kevin Iole summarized the view of ringside observers as they exited the arena that evening:  “Fernando Vargas underwent a metamorphosis Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. 

“He entered the ring as a young champion and exited as a great champion.”

The 20-year-old has set the boxing community abuzz with his reign of destruction, and at some point in the near future Oscar de la Hoya will find this fellow Mexican-American obstructing his path.Vargas was born and still resides in Oxnard, California. He is trained by Eduardo Garcia and Roger Bloodworth, and is managed by the trio of Lou Duva, Shelly Finkel and Rolando Arellano.

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