Unfortunately, upon receiving a great deal of criticism from boxing fans and analysts alike, following the announcement of the November 5 bout, the 27 year old champion has justifiably developed somewhat of a chip on his shoulder.
In a recent, telling interview with Rod Rigo of "Tha' Boxing Voice", Jessie vented his understandable frustration, concerning the various critics of his upcoming match-up with the Pacman.
"As for being the underdog, I can understand because of the name recognition that Manny Pacquiao has...the background, the history, he's a boxing icon. So I can understand why he would be up on the odds," stated the current WBO Welterweight champion.
"To the people who doubt me, that's okay. They're entitled to their own opinion. They can doubt me if they want to. The only thing that I do not respect and what I really dislike is for others to say this is a 'crap fight', because you are very ignorant. This is a great match-up. We're going to collide and crash...we're both offensive minded fighters. We're both very active fighters. We throw a lot of punches."
"So it's a fight that you're going to enjoy. Don't take credit away from the fighters or the fight. The fight's going to be great. If you don't want to watch it, don't watch it. But don't talk s**t about it. Look at the facts. Look at any one of my fights. They're always action packed fights. That's what I pride myself on. For people to say that it's not going to be a good fight, it's just ignorant."
The great majority of his anger doesn't seem to be directed to the various fight fans who were clamoring for a Pacquiao match-up opposite Terence Crawford, because most fighters at the world class level have come to expect a certain degree of cynicism from boxing's passionate supporters. Jessie's beef appears to be directed to an unlikely source who just five months ago was singing his praises during his last fight on HBO.
Several weeks ago on ESPN's popular morning talk show "First Take", HBO boxing commentator Max Kellerman had this to say about Jessie's "golden opportunity" against living fight legend Manny Pacquiao:
"Vargas is a good solid fighter. He’s not bad, and not a big puncher, and the kind of guy where if he beats Pacquiao, that means Pacquiao is washed up as a top level fighter. So the fact that Pacquiao chose to fight Vargas instead of Crawford, it can only say one thing at this point, which is he’s just fighting for the money. He’s fighting kind of a 'money grab', while avoiding the bigger money for the more dangerous opponent. It doesn’t say great things about where he (Pacquiao) is at the moment. Terence Crawford is not only a superior boxer but he can also bang if you come right at him."
Vargas justly took exception to Kellerman's brand of public scrutiny.
"For someone to say, 'if Jessie Vargas beats Manny Pacquiao, that means Pacman is washed up'? Mother f***er, he just fought three or four months ago," exclaimed Jessie Vargas.
"He fought a month after I did. It doesn't make any sense. That really, really pisses me off to be honest!"
"Sometimes he (Max Kellerman) says things that are just very, very ignorant. I can't control what he says, but it's just stupidity! It seems that he already wants to take credit away from me. Yeah, I'm going to beat him. Oh but if Jessie Vargas beats him, it means he (Manny Pacquiao) is washed up. But if it's another fighter, he's the next superstar."
The Las Vegas based champion doesn't understand why he's not receiving respect from someone who has seen him in action from ringside, and who supposedly understands the business of boxing. Vargas is suspicious that maybe his image doesn't fit Kellerman's idea of the next HBO PPV star.
"I'm sorry I'm not white...I'm sorry I'm not black. I don't know if I'm marketable or not, but I can fight. And anyone who can fight and has the guts to face anyone should be given the proper respect," Vargas professed to "Tha Boxing Voice".
"I'm sorry I'm not Russian! I'm sorry I'm not from the Ukraine! I'm sorry I don't look like you. This is who I am and I'm proud of it! I will win on November 5, and I will give you an action packed fight!"
Well said, Mr. Vargas...well said.
Perhaps Jessie will have the opportunity to give Kellerman a special, personal greeting when the "Pacquiao vs. Vargas" event is officially announced on September 8, in Los Angeles, California. One hopes media members will be prepared to capture the entire confrontation.