Vargas vs Ball Predictions: Veteran Vargas can catch Ball

 | March 06 | 

3 mins read

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Nick Ball finally gets his world title chance this Friday (8 March) in Saudi Arabia when he faces Rey Vargas on DAZN. The Mexican’s WBC featherweight strap will be on the line in this high-quality scrap on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou. The main event will capture the headlines, but Ball and Vargas might just put on the most thrilling bout in Riyadh this Friday. Read on for my Vargas vs Ball predictions.

Vargas vs Ball Odds

Ball has secured this shot the old-fashioned way, racking up four defences of the WBC silver title. Ranking belts are a much-maligned commodity but Ball’s promoter, Frank Warren, has done an excellent job of using the bauble to position his charge for this opportunity. 

Ball’s last fight proved the 27-year-old is ready for a move to world level. The Liverpudlian beat former WBO super bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe convincingly to secure this shot. Manchester Arena played host to a breakout performance from Ball as he knocked Dogboe down on the way to a wide unanimous decision win. It was the only time Dogboe had ever been beaten outside of a world title fight in his career.

Now Ball has a world title bout of his very own. It’s a tough one, with Rey Vargas representing a massive step up in class. The Mexican is unbeaten at featherweight, with his only career loss coming last time out in an unsuccessful challenge against WBC super featherweight king O’Shaquie Foster. Vargas also has a flawless ledger down at super bantamweight, where he reigned as WBC champion. 

The X-factor here is how Vargas will respond to suffering his first career defeat. The fact the bout took place above his natural weight class is a caveat and it may allow the 33-year-old to compartmentalise the loss. But defeat can do strange things to a fighter and some never recover. Look at Prince Naseem Hamed. After Marco Antonio Barrera inflicted his first career defeat, a points decision in 2001, the precocious star fought just once more before retiring. Vargas now has to recalibrate in his autumn years and go again.

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Conversely, Vargas having to rouse himself as a world title veteran is the opposite scenario to Ball. This is his first world title action of any kind, coming against a man with eight championship bouts on his record. Vargas knows what to do to win, defend and retain a world belt. This experience is second nature to him. Since 2017, only one of his fights has been non-title.

Ball has shown enough to indicate he can survive at this level. But can he thrive? He’ll have one hell of a job on his hands. It will be interesting to see the weapons of choice in this one. Both men can punch and each is unafraid of trench warfare. Vargas is well-equipped to keep this one at range though, standing 5’10 to Ball’s 5’2. 

The Mexican possesses a steady jab and, if he can keep his head and avoid an unnecessary arms race, he can pip Ball via decision. That outcome sits at 9/4 on Betfred and that’s where I’m leaning for this tasty featherweight collision. Ball deserves this shot but I feel he’ll come up just short against the experienced Vargas.

You can find all our latest boxing tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page

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