Rey Vargas will look to kick off his 2023 boxing campaign as a three-division world champion when he takes on O’Shaquie Foster for a vacant 130-pound title Saturday night on Showtime from the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs) of Mexico, who turned pro in 2010, won the WBC 122-pound title with a 12-round majority decision over Gavin O’Donnell. Following five defenses of the belt, he moved up to the featherweight division, where he Mark Magsayo to win the WBC world title last July.
After failing to come to an agreement to face then-WBA “Super” 126-pound titleholder Leo Santa Cruz, who later relinquished the title, Vargas moved on to pursue a world title in his third weight class.
“The Alamodome is definitely a beautiful venue and a place where I have wonderful memories, and we’re coming back to do it again on February 11,” Vargas stated. “I want to thrill the fans so Foster can come at me with whatever he has. Let’s give the fans what they want. I’ve fought all kinds of styles, so nothing really surprises me. I have a hunch that Foster is going to come forward and be aggressive. If he fights me tactically, then I’ll be ready for that too.”
Foster (19-2, 11 KOs), 29, of Houston, has won nine bouts in a row. In his most recent fight, the 29-year-old defeated Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov in March via a 12-round unanimous decision. “I appreciate Vargas for coming up and challenging me for the world title,” Foster said. “I’ve had to take a lot of ‘0’s’ lately, and Vargas is going to be another one on the list. I’m looking to become the first world titlist to come out of my city so that I can make history for Orange, Texas, and raise the bar for the next generation. I’m ready to show the world that I’m one of the top fighters.”
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) February 6, 2023
Vargas isn’t your typical Mexican fighter. Most Mexicans we watch come forward and leave it all in the ring. Vargas, though, he’s a smooth operator, and he takes his time and jabs a lot to prevent his opposition from getting into a rhythm. On the other hand, Vargas can get too complacent at times, which has resulted in a series of knockdowns. However, he has yet to pay the ultimate price for his mistakes. Vargas—once again—in the Magsayo fight that he can overcome adversity. He suffered a ninth-round knockdown, the fourth of his career, and rebounded to keep his undefeated record intact.
It’s an intriguing stylistic matchup on paper because Foster is also a slick boxer. However, I do expect him to be the aggressor in this fight. We have to factor in Vargas’ experience, and I believe the latter will draw his younger, more aggressive counterpart into his wheelhouse.
From there, Vargas will use the ring and his jab to keep Foster at bay. I also believe bodywork will also be a major factor in this fight. Vargas is the type of fighter who likes to throw mean left hooks to the body. If Foster gets desperate late, look for Vargas to set up traps that will expose the liver for a good whacking.
REY VARGAS VS. O'SHAQUIE FOSTER PREDICTION
Rey Vargas by unanimous decision (117-111).Watch the fight on Showtime >>
REY VARGAS VS. O'SHAQUIE FOSTER BETTING ODD
Per DraftKings, Rey Vargas is the favorite at -165, and O'Shaquie Foster is the underdog at +135.
Rey Vargas: Decision -115; KO/TKO +700
O'Shaquie Foster: Decision +300; KO/TKO +400