Rey Vargas and O’Shaquie Foster face off for the vacant WBC super featherweight title, and the clash is the featured boxing attraction of the weekend from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Vargas hopes to become a three-division champion and enter the pound-for-pound debate. He’ll certainly earn it if he gets past the formidable Foster, who has been waiting four years for his title shot.
Boxing odds favor the gifted Vargas at -220 to win. Foster is a live dog, but an underdog nonetheless at +170.
Here are our boxing betting picks and predictions for Vargas vs. Foster from San Antonio.
Rey Vargas vs O'Shaquie Foster odds
|Method of victory||Rey Vargas||O'Shaquie Foster|
|Win by KO/TKO||+500||+500|
|Win by points or decision||-120||+330|
Odds courtesy of FanDuel as of February 6, 2023.
Rey Vargas vs O'Shaquie Foster betting predictions
Picks made on February 6. Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Rey Vargas vs O'Shaquie Foster betting preview
Vargas defeated Mark Magsayo to win a featherweight title during his last fight, yet he's opting to move up to super featherweight to claim a new title rather than defend his current one. Foster has been on the sidelines as the WBC silver champion for the last four years, and he's fighting for a title only now that Shakur Stevenson has left the division and vacated his belts. This will be a step up in weight for Vargas and a step up in class for Foster.
The Mexican has quietly put together a strong body of work while going under the radar. His win over Magsayo in a fun fight in 2022 put him back in the spotlight, and a victory over Foster will give him his third title in as many divisions. Vargas is at the tail end of his prime at 32, and he's still pursuing a signature moment that will draw him closer to a big fight.
Vargas is 36-0 with 22 knockouts and an average fight time of 6.16 rounds. The Mexican produced a five-defense reign at junior featherweight from 2017 to 2019 before a leg injury and promotional issues sidelined him for two years. He came back as a featherweight and demonstrated his class in a split-decision win over Magsayo. He possesses good boxing instincts, decent power, and can do some damage with his body punches.
Foster, a Texas native, has been in the pole position for a title shot since 2019. After hitting a road bump during a 2-2 stretch back in 2015, Foster has rattled off nine consecutive victories while showing consistent improvement. He recently beat the brakes off previously undefeated Muhammadkhuja Iskandarovich Yaqubov in his last fight and has stopped three of his last five opponents.
“Shock” is 19-2 with 11 knockouts and an average fight time of 5.23 rounds. Many expect Foster to play the slickster due to his elusiveness and strong technique. However, Foster might be willing to take a few risks to see how his smaller opponent adjusts to the new weight class.
Vargas has logged a lot of experience, but there's a risk he’s too small for the division. Foster’s recent run has shown he’s ready to test his mettle against better opponents. But Vargas wouldn’t have moved up to face him if he identified Foster as a true threat. While the primary thought is that Vargas should win, odds opened up with him as a +300 favorite, and that line has steadily been dropping closer to fight night.
Rey Vargas vs O'Shaquie Foster boxing prediction and best bet
Prediction: Vargas ML
If Foster had an imposing, physical style, then the size advantage he carries would work for him. Instead, Foster will be content to work on the outside and try to outsmart Vargas in a boxing match. That ensures Vargas fights within his comfort zone, which could be Foster’s undoing. Both fighters are underrated, but Vargas is craftier and tougher than Foster. He also hasn't been struggling against technical opponents compared to the ones who like to get rough.
It will be hard for Foster to win a decision on the cards if he doesn’t press the action. He needs to be the boss in the ring, but I have doubts about how ready he’ll be in front of a hostile crowd and a cagey opponent. We’ve seen him slow to start at times before getting into a rhythm, but he can't bank on winning the fight if his motor is still idling four or five rounds in as Vargas outworks him.
Vargas is in a position to become a world champion in back-to-back fights, though it will be a close one depending on how passive Foster is in the opening rounds. We’re going with Vargas to win.
Prediction: Vargas ML (-220 at DraftKings)
Best Bet: Vargas by decision
With Vargas’ punching power likely to be a non-factor at this weight and Foster’s sturdiness, a stoppage is out of the picture. This fight is going to be a tactical one as both fighters look to establish their jabs and try to seize momentum.
Foster might be too willing to fight off his back foot, and the lack of aggression won't sway the judges if there are any close rounds. Expect Vargas’ superior ring IQ and willingness to come forward to carry him to another world title with a win on the scorecards.
I’d be fine sticking with Vargas on the moneyline, but we’ll aim for the most likely outcome with a decision win to bring the odds down to -120.
Prediction: Vargas by decision (-120 at DraftKings)