Fernando Vargas, also known as “El Feroz,” was a professional boxer who competed from 1997 to 2007. Despite facing numerous challenges throughout his career, Vargas managed to achieve significant success in the ring, becoming a two-time light middleweight world champion. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the life and career of Fernando Vargas Jr. and explore how he became one of the most beloved and ferocious fighters of his time.
Early Life and Career
Fernando Vargas was born on December 7, 1977, in Oxnard, California. He was the youngest of six children, and his parents had immigrated to the United States from Mexico. Growing up, Vargas was a troubled youth and had a tough upbringing. He often found himself in trouble with the law and had to overcome numerous obstacles to pursue his passion for boxing. Despite these challenges, Vargas began boxing at a young age and quickly showed promise as a fighter. He won his first amateur fight at the age of eight and went on to win numerous amateur titles, including the Junior Olympics and the United States Amateur Boxing Championship. In 1995, Vargas turned professional and quickly made a name for him in the boxing world.
Rise to Fame
In his early years as a professional boxer, Fernando Vargas Jr. quickly gained a reputation as a hard-hitting fighter with a relentless fighting style. He won his first 20 fights, 18 of which were by knockout and quickly established he as a rising star in the sport. In 1999, Vargas fought and defeated Winky Wright to become the IBF light middleweight champion. He went on to defend his title three times before losing to Felix Trinidad in a highly anticipated showdown in 2000. He went on to defend his title twice before losing to Oscar De La Hoya in another highly publicized fight. Although he lost the fight, Vargas gained respect from many boxing fans for his toughness and determination in the ring.
Challenges and Comebacks
Despite his success in the ring, Vargas faced numerous challenges throughout his career. In addition to his troubled upbringing, he also battled injuries, personal issues, and controversy outside of the ring. In 2002, Vargas tested positive for steroids after his fight with Oscar De La Hoya. He suspended from boxing for nine months and faced criticism from fans and the media. However, Vargas returned to the ring in 2003 and continued to fight at a high level. In 2006, Vargas suffered a devastating loss to Ricardo Mayorga and announced his retirement from boxing. However, he returned to the ring in 2007 for one last fight against Sugar Shane Mosley, which he lost by unanimous decision.
Legacy and Impact
Despite his ups and downs, Fernando Vargas remains one of the most beloved and respected fighters in the history of boxing. His fierce fighting style, determination, and willingness to face some of the best fighters in the world have made him a fan favorite. Vargas also had a significant impact on the sport of boxing, both inside and outside of the ring. He paved the way for other Latino boxers and inspired a generation of young fighters to pursue their dreams. He also became a role model for troubled youth and used his platform to give back to his community.
Fernando Vargas Achievements
Fernando Vargas Jr. had a highly successful career as a professional boxer, achieving numerous accomplishments throughout his time in the ring.
Amateur Boxing Titles
Vargas won several amateur boxing titles, including the Junior Olympics and the United States Amateur Boxing Championship.
IBF Light Middleweight Champion
In 1999, Vargas won the IBF Light Middleweight Championship by defeating Winky Wright.
WBA Light Middleweight Champion
In 2001, Vargas won the WBA Light Middleweight Championship by defeating Ike Quartey.
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
In 2001, Vargas named Ring Magazine’s Fighter of the Year.
ESPN’s Comeback Fighter of the Year
In 2002, Vargas named ESPN’s Comeback Fighter of the Year.
Two-Time Light Middleweight World Champion
Vargas won two world titles in the light middleweight division during his career.
Fernando Vargas Jr. finished his career with a professional record of 26 wins (22 by knockout), 5 losses, and 0 draws.
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