Rey Vargas vs. Franklin Manzanilla: Fight Preview

Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

It’s been nine months since fans have seen WBC Jr. Featherweight champion Rey Vargas (32-0, 22 KOs) in the ring.

A knuckle injury held him to only one fight during the 2018 boxing campaign. After taking the time he needed to deal with his injury, he is now fully healthy and making his first of hopefully many appearances in 2019.

His return bout will be against 30-year-old veteran Franklin Manzanilla (18-4, 17 KOs). For the veteran fighter, this will undoubtedly be his toughest opponent to date. The bout is scheduled to take place at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California and will stream live on DAZN.

Vargas won’t be looking to simply win the fight but he will also be looking to make a statement and prove to himself that the issues he was dealing with his knuckle are finally behind him. Vargas will also hope to retain his WBC title in his fourth defense.

The talent with Vargas is obvious, but the Jr. Featherweight division is one of the deepest in boxing. In order to land the big fights that he is searching for he cannot overlook his opponent come Saturday night.

Manzanilla might be viewed as a non-threat by the fans, but he is a big puncher.  He also has some impressive victories under his belt as well. Just last year he managed to knock out former champion Julio Ceja in the fourth round of their contest in what turned out to be a major upset. This Saturday night he will be looking to shock the champion and lift his title in the process.

Everything going into this fight is in the favor of the champion however, Vargas explained that in his last fight he essentially fought with one hand because of the injury he suffered to his knuckle. He can ill afford to be in that same predicament again with the hard hitting Manzanilla.

Vargas suffered through the most non-active year of his career. He will be hoping to bounce back in a big way come Saturday night. Proving that he is the best in the division is what drives Vargas. His opponent however has something he wants to prove as well.

On paper this is a fight that would heavily favor the champion, but he will have to go through difficult moments in the fight to get his hands raised after the bell.

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