I used to have a word to describe World Boxing Association junior middleweight champion Fernando Vargas: thug. I now have a more concrete description: felon.
The 23-year-old Oxnard native finally got what was coming to him last Friday, when a judge sentenced him to 90 days in Santa Barbara County Jail for his role in a 1999 Summerland beat-down.
The 1999 assault occurred after Vargas met a Spearmint Rhino dancer at a downtown club and later visited her home. It was there where he encountered an angry Anthony Arria, the dancer’s 22-year-old ex-boyfriend, who formally introduced himself and his aggression. The two began cockfighting when 23-year-old Doug Rossi, who was visiting another woman in the house, broke up the impromptu bout.
Vargas and four other thugs, one a cousin of his, returned to the house about an hour later. His “tough-guy” friends then broke down a bedroom door and used golf clubs to beat Rossi bloody. And for what? Breaking up a fight?
Vargas contested that he fought strictly in self-defense and was not one of Rossi’s assailants. The judge called his BS and slapped the boxer with conspiracy to commit assault, a felony charge, along with double the sentence his four minions received.
And rightfully so.
It doesn’t take a genius, especially with a taped 911 call from one of the terrified women, to realize the boxer created the conflict when he called his friends, who returned with golf clubs. It doesn’t matter whether or not Vargas actually assaulted Rossi with a club; the celebrity acted as the general and should be given a stiffer sentence than his minions. It was his battle, and he sent others to fight it. Can you feel the machismo?
And now Vargas’ manager wants to pursue alternate sentencing, such as a house arrest at his Big Bear training facility. Sounds like real hard time.
Vargas should have learned last Friday that legal counterpunches are even tougher to dodge than a Trinidad widow-maker is. But after a six-figure settlement with Rossi and persistent pleas of innocence, what has Vargas really learned from the law?
“I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Vargas told the Los Angeles Times. “This wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t Fernando Vargas. But now I just want to move on.”
Too bad, Fernando, because you, your 100 hours of community service and three years of probation aren’t going anywhere.
Daily Nexus news and training editor Ted Andersen sees an optimistic vision of Vargas’ future: an orange jacket, a stick and plenty of freeway trash.