Jessie Vargas believes he will become a three-weight world champion and is interested in meeting former WBO 154lbs title-holder Liam Smith when boxing resumes later this year.

Vargas (29-3-2, 11 KOs) previously held the WBA 140lbs and WBO 147lbs crowns, and last April moved to 154lbs where he despatched veteran Humberto Soto in six rounds. 

The Las Vegan returned to welterweight to face Mikey Garcia in Texas in February, rising from the canvas in the fifth to push his rival all the way, but will now pursue titles at super-welterweight, targeting former champion Liam Smith as well as the current belt holders in the division.      

“I will become a three-division world champion very soon, I am positive,” Vargas told Matchroom Boxing’s podcast ‘The Lockdown Tapes’. “I am hungrier than ever and I feel very comfortable in this division. There are ways that we can line up the big fights for me to become champion again. 

“I feel like I have something to prove now to myself and everyone, it’s now or never. I am going to push myself to be in a position where I am comfortable and I have the right team around me to do so. The future is exciting for me.

“The Liam Smith fight is one I am definitely interested in. I will speak to my promoters very soon and go from there. I will fight anyone in the 154lbs division.”

Jessie Vargas in training camp for Mikey Garcia.
Photo and main image: Lewis Ward/Matchroom Boxing USA.

Vargas reflected fondly on his days training with the late Roger Mayweather, fighting on Floyd Mayweather undercards as well as his memorable clash with Manny Pacquiao.

“I trained with Roger for years,” recalled Vargas. “I had to move gyms because his gym was only for pros and I needed support from an amateur gym. 

“I was 15 when I hooked back up with Roger and stayed with him right up until I was 23. He was sick so he wasn’t always at the gym, which was the reason why I had to make a change. I got to spend a lot of time with him and learn so much from one of the greats, just being in that Mayweather environment was amazing. 

“I was one of those kids who worked with Roger alongside Devin Haney. He was direct and always spoke his mind. He was a great guy. 

“I was 23 and I remember seeing Devin in the gym and saw him always giving it his all and would encourage him. It’s a joy to see him succeeding the way he is. Now he’s working with Floyd, which is great for him as he’s learning from the best. 

“It was fascinating and having the opportunity to fight on the biggest stage in boxing told me I was on the right path. 

“I was very young, but I made sure to shine and I won by knockout, it was electrifying and gave me a little taste of what was to come.

“I also boxed on Mayweather-Ortiz and Mayweather-Mosley cards. I have been blessed to fight on big platforms and then headline my own shows.

“I looked over the ring to Manny [Pacquiao] and thought ‘let’s do it’. I was smiling inside. You have got to be confident in your own abilities and believe in yourself.

“The atmosphere was incredible and I gave it my all. It was a great learning experience and now it’s about pushing myself to get to the top once again.

“[Pacquiao’s] positioning and his speed are his main attributes. His speed was dangerous and, if you don’t see it, he will take you down. He is, for sure, the best I have faced in the ring.”