Anytime you are the son or daughter of a legendary athlete in a sport, the road to your success can become increasingly difficult. Boxing is no different. For 19-year-old lightweight prospect Emiliano ‘El General’ Vargas (7-0, 6 KOs), growing up as the youngest son of the great Fernando Vargas isn’t easy. Even with two other brothers who are fighters that can help absorb some of the pressure of being a Vargas, it’s still a lot to ask from a guy who is two years away from being considered a full adult.
Vargas came up through the amateurs and, before turning pro, was the one being discussed through many boxing circles as the fighter from the Vargas family who had the most potential. Even the Hall of Famer/founder of Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya himself, pegged Vargas as the one that had caught his attention the most and would try to sign him when the opportunity presented itself. Although there were options, Vargas ended up with Top Rank, and in May 2022, he made his pro debut in his birthplace of southern California; making his presence felt with a first-round knockout.
Like his other two brothers, Vargas is trained by their Father, Fernando, who runs a tight ship and takes things seriously when it comes to preparing his sons for a fight. Although he trains Emiliano, you never know what the relationship dynamic is as boxing can disrupt the family relationship part of it.
“I think it’s a beautiful relationship. Me and my dad, he’s everything I need him to be. He’s my father, trainer, and an amazing father too, for someone who didn’t have one. I cherish him a lot and wouldn’t be here without him. Obviously, my last name I’m so proud to have, and I’ve said this before: I want my son to be as proud as I am of my father to have that last name. It’s a beautiful dynamic. I joke with my father, but when it’s time to go to work, then it’s time to go to work! I love my father and can’t wait for what's to come for the both of us,” the lightweight prospect sincerely stated.
Vargas feels his relationship has evolved through the years, as his father has brought in different people to help train him for fights. There is a picture on Instagram with Vargas sparring with former junior featherweight champion Brandon Figueroa and a video of him doing drills with Gabe Flores Sr. (the father of lightweight Gabe Flores Jr.). Vargas told ProBoxTV “My dad is really comfortable with just learning. He always tells me, ‘You die when you stop learning and stop growing.’ That takes a lot of maturity from my father, who built his career off of pride. He’s getting older and does need help, especially with me and my brothers being in the mix. One Vargas is enough, so you add another two or three, and it’s a handful.”
Top Rank feels like they have something with Vargas. Thursday’s fight will be his sixth for this year as he keeps a close eye on that coveted Prospect of the Year award. Vargas will admit that things have drastically changed from the time he first debuted to now entering his eighth fight. “I was telling my father that in my pro debut, I was putting [on] those eight-ounce gloves, and in my head, I was saying, ‘Man, I’m a pro now. Am I going to be able to hurt someone in eight-ounce gloves?’ I’m a kid who just turned eighteen, and all these things run through my head. Now, looking back, six fights just this year, I gained so much experience sparring with great champions, former and present.
“This is my college/university, and boxing is just a thing that I’m studying. I’m grateful to be fighting and gaining that experience. I’m happy to see my progress, and you will see a different Emiliano Vargas every time I step into the ring.”
Vargas will be fighting on the Shakur Stevenson vs. Edwin De Los Santos WBC lightweight title fight card on Thursday, live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. It’ll be a home fight for Vargas who is looking to put on a show in front of family and friends in attendance. Like anyone else fighting on such a significant week in Las Vegas, it’s hard not to be excited about the potential of having a lot of eyes on your fight. “I’m grateful to be on such an amazing card on F1 weekend in my hometown Las Vegas. It’s a perfect storm, and the fans will be the winners.”