• By Miguel Maravilla Photos by Golden Boy

Francisco Vargas Returns Saturday vs. Berchelt

WBC super featherweight champion Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (23-0-2, 17 KOs) returns to the ring this Saturday as he will be defending his title against fellow Mexican brawler and WBO Interim super featherweight champion Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt (30-1, 27 KOs) at the Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino Events Center live on HBO Boxing After Dark.

“I am excited to be back. This will be a good fight Bertchel has a good record he is unknown in the U.S. but well known in Mexico. We are trained hard so we can come out with the victory,” Francisco Vargas told Southern California Boxing.com “This will be a tough fight, he is a good fighter,” Vargas added.

Vargas prepared for a total of three months training in Mexico City and doing his roadwork in the high altitude mountains of Toluca, Mexico conditioning as Vargas spend the holidays putting in hard work in preparation for Berchelt.

“We had a great preparation in Mexico City, we were home and now we area ready. We had three months of camp and we have been working well conditioning in the mountains and sparring has been great,” Vargas on training camp. “Training during the holidays I avoided all the holiday food but I stayed focused and discipline,” Vargas added.

“It was a great camp, the sparring and the conditioning went very well,” Vargas’s trainer Guillermo Becerril said.

It has been a tough camp Vargas describes as his trainer Guillermo “Sargento” Becerril is not cutting him any slack as they prepare for their task. Becerril, a sergeant in the Mexican military has been training Vargas since he was an amateur as he guided him to his first world title.

“Training with him, he’s tough we have to maintain discipline but training with him is good,” Vargas said about training with Becerril.

“My philosophy as a trainer is to maintain discipline and as a boxer it is necessary. To be a world champion you need discipline. In this sport if you have no discipline you won make it,” Becerril said.

Coming off back to back fights of the year in 2015 and 2016, Vargas was involved in some wars. He captured the WBC title in November of 2015 with a stoppage over Takashi Miura as he rallied from an early knockdown to win and in his next fight he fought to draw against fellow countryman the always tough Orlando Salido in June of 2016. Following the back to back wars Vargas took some much needed time off as now he gets set to return.

“They were two tough fights, they were wars. I learned a lot and I am so happy that they were fight of the year candidates,” Vargas said. “I rested my body well. I am excited to return and anxious for fight date to come. I needed a rest but now I am excited to return I can’t wait,” Vargas added.

“After a tough fight it is necessary to rest but he had two really tough fights. It was necessary for him to take time off but he stood active training the whole time he was off,” Becerril said.

His opponent Bertchel is riding a nine fight win streak since suffering his first loss back in 2014 and is coming off a knockout over Suriya Tatakhun. He won the interim WBO title last year with a stoppage over George Jupp.

“He is a tall fighter with a record and is a good puncher. Bertchel can box and brawl. We have to be ready to defend that title because his bringing everything,” Vargas on his opponent.

“Berchelt is a hungry fighter that can punch. This is his opportunity and he will come with everything. To me is a dangerous fighter,” Becerril said.

With a win over Berchelt to start off the year, Vargas has big plans for 2017 as the options are lined up for the champ. Having fought back to back wars with Miura and Salido, Vargas has those possibilities. Other champions at super featherweight include WBA champ Jezreel Corrales, newly crowned IBF champion Gervonta Davis, and WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko.

“Hopefully we win. There are many fights like Miura, Salido, and Lomachenko. There are many other good fights out there,” Vargas said. “My goal is to fight three times this year and unify with one of the champions at 130,” Vargas added.

“We have a live dog in Berchelt, we don’t want to look past him but if everything goes well there are some options,” Vargas manager told Southern California Boxing.com

Vargas vs. Berchelt will be a scheduled 12 round championship fight for Vargas’s WBC title as Vargas will be making his second title defense.

“I plan to give another good fight for the fans,” Vargas said. “I am ready to leave it all in the ring again," Vargas concluded.

Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla