Picking the Vargas-Trinidad winner not easy

One of the big fights of the year takes place a week from Saturday in Las Vegas when undefeated Felix Trinidad and Fernando Vargas tangle for the undisputed junior middleweight title.

Because I'm taking off after Thanksgiving and won't be back for two weeks, I want to look at that fight today.

Trinidad (38-0, 31 KOs) is the favorite for the scheduled 12-round fight. He is listed at -$1.60 for the fight, give or take a dime, while Vargas (20-0, 18 KOs) is listed +$1.40 at local sports books.

This is a tough fight to call because both fighters can make a case for how they will win and both are capable of winning. This will be a good fight and many expect it to be named the "Fight of the Year" when all is said and done.

Also at stake is the possible "Fighter of the Year," since the winner will receive strong consideration for that title. Personally, I think Lennox Lewis should be named fighter of the year with "Sugar" Shane Mosley a close second, but that could change depending on what happens in this fight.

As for the fight itself, for betting purposes I like Vargas. That's because, as I've written before, this fight is a coin-flip for me and if I can get roughly 3-2 odds on a 50-50 proposition, I'll take it!

Am I picking Vargas to win?

No way ... Not that he can't, it's just that Trinidad can win this fight, too, and making a prediction here is nothing more than a guess. Trinidad has fought the tougher competition and has more experience, but he did lose to Oscar De La Hoya - no matter what the judges said - and Trinidad has been down in more than one fight so his chin is a little questionable.

As for Vargas, he's younger and while less experienced, he appears to be a tad stronger than Felix. Also, Vargas is a natural junior middleweight (154-pounds) while Trinidad has moved up from welterweight (147-pounds), so even though both will weigh in under the 154-pound limit, Vargas will likely come into the ring about 10 pounds over that. Trinidad is close to his maximum weight at 154 and will probably come into the ring a few pounds more but will still be spotting Vargas 6-8 pounds.

Predicting the winner is no easy task, so I won't attempt to do that. It should be a good fight, it's on pay-per-view TV and let's hope they live up to the hype and put on a good fight and a good show.

- Last Friday the live ESPN2 card came from the Peppermill in Reno and they showed four fights on the 2-hour telecast.

The main event was a real stinker in which Cory Spinks, son of former heavyweight champ Leon Spinks, took a unanimous 10-round decision win over Edgar Ruiz in a welterweight fight.

Spinks may have won, but he was uninspired and appeared to just be going through the motions. He showed no fire and no willingness to mix it up against Ruiz, who tried but was outclassed.

Even the ringside commentators, who tend to see a better fight than we do, were disgusted with Spinks performance and said so over the air. All I'll add to that is I've seen Cory fight a few times now and every fight has been dull and boring and while he wins - he's 24-1 with 11 KOs - he doesn't fight a lot and is too cautious for my taste. Ruiz saw his record fall to 18-3 with the loss.

Yerington's Jesse Brinkley was just the opposite as he looked very impressive in taking out undefeated Ed Brown in the last round of their scheduled six-round middleweight fight. Brinkley improved his record to 12-1 with 8 KOs while Brown, from St. Louis, Mo., fell to 2-1 with 2 KOs.

Also on the telecast, undefeated Andrew Lewis (19-0, 18 KOs) took out Sebastian Valdez (13-2, 3 KOs) quickly by stopping him in round two of their fight. Valdez, a late sub who took the fight on only four days notice, fought like most late subs do and was non-competitive. In another fight that ended in round 2, undefeated Kelly Pavlick improved to 5-0, 5 KOs after he pounded on Lafayette Randolph (4-3, 2 KOs) until it was over.

- This Friday the ESPN2 card features Omar Sheika (20-2, 13 KOs) fighting Lloyd Brown (20-4, 9 KOs) in the main event. The first bell is set for 6 p.m.

- Sunday Univision had two live fights on. In the main event former junior middleweight champ Yory Boy Campas (76-4, 65 KOs) came in as a light heavyweight (173-pounds) and looked impressive as he took out Rob Bleakley (77-30-1, 19 KOs) 51 seconds into round 4 of their fight.

Campas toyed with the veteran Bleakley for a couple of rounds, floored him in the third round and finished him off in the fourth round. Campas, from Sonora, Mexico, simply outfought Bleakley, who is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the scheduled 10-rounder.

Also on the telecast, which came from the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, Tucson's Ramon Olivas outslugged Denver's Brad Jensen in a scrappy little fight to win a unanimous four round decision. Olivas improved to 3-0 with 1 KO while Jensen tasted his first defeat and is now 7-1 with 4 KO's.

This coming Sunday Univision features Jorge Paez (66-14-4, 44 KO's) in the main event. The action starts at noon.

- Hope you have a great Thanksgiving Day weekend and I'll see you in a couple of weeks.

Alan Rogers is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer.

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