Rey Vargas vs. O'Shaquie Foster: Too Close to Call

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Two hungry tacticians will square off when unbeaten two-division Champion Rey Vargas faces top contender O'Shaquie Foster for the vacant WBC World Super Featherweight title Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

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Vargas vs Foster OFFICIAL WEIGH-IN | #VargasFoster

This Saturday, February 11, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, undefeated two-division world champion Rey Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs) takes on top 130-pound contender O’Shaquie Foster (19-2, 11 KOs) for the vacant WBC Super Featherweight World Championship in the main event on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)

The Story

Rey Vargas has quietly established a reputation as one of the most accomplished Mexican fighters in the game today. The native of Otumba, Mexico will be looking to fortify that reputation Saturday night by becoming a three-division world champ.

Vargas won his first world title back in 2017 in the United Kingdom when he decisioned WBC Super Bantamweight Champ and home country favorite, Gavin McDonnell. In his last bout, this past July, he beat defending WBC Featherweight Titlist Mark Magsayo. 

O’Shaquie Foster would work through losses in 2015 and 2016 to get back on track and rattle off nine straight victories to get to this upcoming world title shot. The decorated amateur, who served as an alternate on the 2012 USA Olympic Boxing Team, holds high-water mark victories over  Alberto Mercado, Miguel Roman, and, most recently, Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov.

The native of Orange, Texas, who now trains and fights out of Houston, is looking to pick up his first world title with a victory this Saturday.

The Stakes

At stake is the vacant WBC Super Featherweight World Title and a spot atop the intriguing 130-pound division. 

The Matchup

The 32-year-old Vargas is tall and long and most effective when using his size and reach to his advantage. He’s also a good inside fighter who works the body well.

Although he lacks true one-punch power, he has a high work rate and throws everything solidly and with conviction. His jab is very good, albeit somewhat underutilized, and it has the potential to be a fight-controlling weapon.

Vargas has some defensive liabilities and they usually present themselves later in fights, and/or when he’s caught at the wrong distance, moving back from an inside attack. He’s also shown himself to be susceptible to the right hand.

Foster is also a tall and lanky fighter who does his best work from a distance when able to extend his long arms. A versatile boxer-puncher who can switch from orthodox to southpaw stances, he’s smooth and fluid with his work, exhibiting high-end athleticism and next-level reflexes.

His best offensive weapon may be the big right hand he likes to drop behind his stiff jab. However, his big left behind the right jab as a southpaw seems equally as powerful.

Defensively, Foster relies on his reflexes in picking off punches and moving out of harm’s way. 

Let’s give the fans what they want. Undefeated Two-Division World Champion - Rey Vargas

The Words

Rey Vargas

“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.”

O’Shaquie Foster

“I’ve had to take a lot of ‘0’s’ lately and Vargas is going to be another one on the list. It just makes it better that he’s an undefeated two-time champion. It’s going to be fireworks. Every fight I come in with a different style, so for this fight I’m bringing all the tricks. I’m going to show the world that I belong and that I’m here to stay.”

The Breakdown

There are a lot of similarities between Vargas and Foster, in both style and temperament. Both are also tall and lanky fighters who get things done on the inside, but are better suited to the long-range game. Being so evenly matched means that intangibles will play a huge factor in determining the winner of this title bout.

Vargas will come into Saturday’s contest with an edge in high-end professional experience and the seasoning that comes with two world titles and seven world title fights. 

Foster, however, will be fighting at his natural 130-pound weight limit, whereas his Mexican opponent will be coming up in weight from 126 and, not too long ago, 122. 

This size/weight issue may turn out to be a pretty big deal. Throughout his career, much of Vargas’ success has been predicated upon his edge in height and reach against fighters in his weight class. In this bout, he’ll be an inch shorter than Foster and will have a nearly two-inch reach disadvantage.

Because of this, Vargas may opt to take the fight inside and turn the boxing match into a phone booth battle where he hopes to have the edge in grit and general toughness. It’s no given, however, that Foster will be at any great disadvantage in an inside war of attrition.

Foster’s talent and versatility, along with his size, make him a tough obstacle to overcome in this bout. But there’s proof of what Vargas can do at this level. Foster has yet to prove himself in a main stage fight of this magnitude.

It’s also important to point out that this will be Vargas’ first bout without legendary trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain in his corner. Although Vargas insists that this will have no affect on his performance, even the slightest slip or deviation could be a major factor in a close contest.

All in all, expect a pick ‘em battle this Saturday against evenly-matched foes in an ultimate high-stakes encounter. 

For a closer look at Vargas vs Foster, check out our fight night page. 

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