Approximately an hour north, depending on traffic, lays Oxnard, CA. Stationed right on the Pacific Ocean, Oxnard is primarily an agricultural community, and because of that, a Hispanic community.
It's not a wealthy town by any means. Odd, considering it lies between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.
In fact, Oxnard is somewhat of the proverbial "arm pit." It has extremely poor sections, mostly where the migrant workers temporarily stay during fruit picking seasons.
It has the requisite strip malls and track housing.
Within the heart of Oxnard, is a notorious boxing gym known as much for it's dubious reputation as the boxers it produces.
Meet La Colonia Boxing.
Nestled within the La Colonia barrio, La Colonia boxing has turned out such famed fighters as Vargas, Robert Garcia, and Victor Ortiz.
I used to train up Highway 35 at Sylva's Boxing Gym. The edict was laid down to me my first week at Sylva's.
White boys don't step into La Colonia.
It's strictly a Hispanic gym, and it's not the kind of gym strangers just happen into, too.
I heard stories about boxers who would show up, agree to spar, and then do well against one of the La Colonia fighters.
Only to be beaten by three or four members in the parking lot and told never to come back.
Trying to get a decision as an outsider at La Colonia is easier than getting Brett Favre to actually announce his retirement plans.
The classic trick was to get an outsider to agree to spar one of the local professionals. To be told it will be a "light sparring match," only to be ripped to shreds.
Fernando Vargas calls La Colonia his home boxing gym.
I miss "Ferocious" Fernando Vargas if only because I despise him so much. Boxing needs it's "Bad Boys" and nobody has played that role better than Fernando Vargas.
He is the living embodiment of a "punk."
Floyd Mayweather Jr. tries to be the bad guy, but it's almost with a wink and a smile. I imagine Floyd is actually a pretty jovial fellow.
Vargas, on the other hand, is an a--hole to his core. There's nothing jovial about him.
His reputation was notorious around the Oxnard area. Even the locals couldn't stand him. A cocky jerk who strutted around in Adidas track suits, shade over his eyes, gold around his neck and on his fingers.
An attitude only a mother could love.
A well-known story about Vargas is that his father once came to watch him spar. Vargas, who hadn't seen his father in years, challenged him to get in the ring with him.
Then took him down with one good body shot—never to see his father again.
Vargas burned with hate. Burned with anger.
That attitude came about in epic bouts with Oscar De La Hoya, Winky Wright, Shane Mosley, and Felix Trinidad.
Each pre-fight was fueled by Vargas's penchant for trash talking and belittling his opponent.
He even went so far as to call out De La Hoya's wife.
Talk about class.
I'll give Vargas credit, to his detriment, he never ducked anyone, and that's probably why he was a shot fighter at 28 years old.
He hasn't fought in over two years since losing a decision to Ricardo Mayorga in November of 2007. Heck, he's lost his last three fights and hasn't won a fight in over four years.
What's he doing now at 33 years old?
Of course...he's talking about a comeback.
Never mind that he's put on about 50 pounds.
Never mind that he sounds punch drunk.
Never mind that he hasn't looked good in years.
What else could Fernando Vargas possibly do?
He tried being a promoter awhile back and that didn't work out. Being a promoter takes business and people skills—obviously not two of Vargas's strong points.
Rumor is that Floyd Mayweather Senior is now training him.
Man, what a perfect pair those two make!
Maybe it takes a punch drunk fighter to understand one?
If I was Cory Spinks, or Kermit Cintron, or Sergio Martinez, I'd take a bout with Vargas in a second.
Not only would it be an easy fight, I think people will tune-in just to see Vargas get a whooping.
I have no idea if Vargas is still a draw.
Either way, in five years he'll be eating soup out of straw and fighting for chump change at a casino in Walla Walla, Washington.
That's how guys like Vargas always end up.
Just ask Jake LaMotta.
Would it be sadistic to say I like watching Fernando Vargas get beaten to a bloody pulp?
But I'll say it anyway.