There's a good clash at welterweight this evening at the outdoor venue StubHub Center in Carson, California as Jesse Vargas moves up in weight to tangle with Timothy Bradley for the Interim WBO title.
Vargas, 26-0 (9), is still the current WBA light welter champ and coming off two defenses of the belt he won in April, 2014. Bradley, 31-1-1 (12), a former world champ at light welter and welterweight, is coming off a draw against Diego Gabriel Chaves in December.
Bradley, a veteran of 11 world title contests, has faced better competition than the opponents Vargas has been up against, having tangled with Manny Pacquiao twice and also Juan Manuel Marquez, Ruslan Provodnikov, Devon Alexander and Lamont Peterson, among others. The top names Vargas has squared off with include Antonio DeMarco, Anton Novikov and Khabib Allakhverdiev.
Both Bradley and Vargas lack concussive punching power, with neither producing a stoppage victory since 2011, so expect this one to go the 12 round distance.
Vargas has been winning his recent appearances by being the more accurate fighter but he's also been outworked in each one of those victories, which could be a real problem for him against the very active Bradley.
The taller man by four inches, Vargas is well-suited to his chosen style of fighting from the outside but Bradley is an expert at rushing in to deliver damage to an opponent and quickly getting out.
The outcome of this contest will likely hinge on whether or not Vargas can time and pick off Bradley on the way in. If Vargas can do that repeatedly, he could take Bradley's confidence away and make the California veteran fight off the back foot.
But if Bradley can slip the jab and right hand of Vargas, this will be a very interesting clash that should see "Desert Storm" win a decision.
Both boxers like to mix in a lot of body shots and if that pattern continues into this bout, there should be a lot of toe to toe exchanges during the second half of the fight as neither man will have enough energy left for a lot of footwork.
Cuts could become a factor as both men will likely absorb a lot of punishment in this bout, which should be one of the more entertaining pairings of the year.