Jessie Vargas vs Liam Smith Preview April 30th, 2022
Former world champions Jessie Vargas of Las Vegas and Liam Smith of Liverpool, England will meet in a 10-round junior middleweight tilt at Madison Square Garden in New York City this Saturday, April 30th. The bout can be seen live in most nations on DAZN. Vargas hasn’t fought since February, 2020 when he dropped a unanimous decision to Mikey Garcia in a shot at the vacant WBC Diamond Welterweight Title while Smith saw action in October when he stopped Anthony Fowler in the eighth round to take his WBA International Super Welterweight crown.
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Vargas vs Smith Betting Odds
- Jessie Vargas +190
- Liam Smith -240
The 32-year-old Vargas is a former two-division world champion in the junior welterweight and welterweight divisions. He enters the bout with a mark of 29-3-2 with 11 Kos. He possesses some fine boxing skills but isn’t known as a big puncher even though his power seemed to be improving with each outing. His current knockout ratio stands at just 32.3 per cent and he’s gone the distance in five of his last six fights.
Vargas has also shown a pretty solid chin throughout his career but has been down on the canvas a couple of times in the past, most notably to Manny Pacquiao. Vargas stopped Sadam Ali in the ninth round to win the vacant WBO Welterweight Title in March, 2016, but dropped a unanimous decision to Pacquiao eight months later. His second defeat came at the hands of Timothy Bradley by a controversial 12-round unanimous decision in June, 2015 and he lost to Garcia the last time out.
Vargas struggled early against Bradley but appeared to have him out on his feet in the 12th round. However, the referee made a crucial mistake by halting the fight with about seven seconds to go as he thought he heard the final bell. Vargas earlier won the WBA Junior Welterweight Crown in April, 2014 against Khabib Allakhverdiev and defended it against Antonio DeMarco and Anton Novikov before meeting Bradley.
He’s a talented boxer/puncher with exceptional skills, but as mentioned earlier, lacks a big punch. Vargas likes to establish his jab to set up short, quick flurries to both the head and body. His other notable wins have been against Humberto Soto, Steve Forbes, Josesito Lopez, Walter Estrada and Vivian Harris. His two draws came consecutively over 12 rounds with Adrien Broner in April, 2018 and Thomas Dulorme six months later.
As far as size goes, Vargas stands 5-feet-11-inches tall with a wingspan of 71 inches. He turned pro back in 2008 after a fine amateur career which saw him go 120-20 and he has fought 253 rounds since. Vargas previously held the WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Title and has gone 4-2 in world championship fights with a knockout. He’s also gone 5-3-1 against former or current world champions with a pair of stoppages under his belt.
The 33-year-old Smith won the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight Title against John Thompson via a seventh-round TKO in October, 2015 and defended it by stopping fellow Brit Jimmy Kelly in the seventh round two months later. He then defended against Predrag Radosevic by a second-round stoppage in June, 2016. However, he lost the title three months later when Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez stopped him in the ninth round.
Smith is also a former British and Commonwealth Champion who has won a couple other minor belts and became the first world champion to hail from Liverpool in 22 years. Since losing his belt to Alvarez he’s won two fights with fellow countrymen Liam Williams as well as stopping Sam Eggington and Anthony Fowler. In addition he stopped Mario Lozano and decisioned Roberto Garcia.
Smith also had a shot at regaining the WBO Title in 2018 when he lost a unanimous decision to Jaime Munguia. He also fought for the vacant WBO International Super Welterweight Title in Russia in 2021 against Magomed Kurbanov but dropped a controversial unanimous decision. This means he now carries around a record of 30-3-1 with 17 Kos. His lone draw was a four-round affair with Terry Carruthers in 2010.
Smith is on the short side for a junior middleweight at just over 5-feet-9-inches tall so he gives up 1.5-inches in height to Vargas and and has an unlisted reach. He made his pro debut in 2008 after a fine amateur career and has 214 rounds under his belt since then. He’s got average power in his fists and currently possesses a knockout ratio of 50 per cent.
This is a very good matchup as Vargas has the better boxing skills while Smith is a bit more aggressive and powerful. Vargas has underrated power though but hasn’t fought in over two years. Both have plenty of experience against world-class opposition with Vargas taking on more upper-level boxers however. I can see this fight going either way including a draw especially since it’s a 10-rounder. If I went on pure boxing skills I’d give Vargas the edge but the ring rust won’t help him. I’m leaning towards Vargas but definitely won’t be surprised by a Smith victory.
A tossup with Vargas having a slight edge.
Play: Vargas +190 @ BetOnline.ag
Check out my recent boxing betting picks to see my current form.