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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | BOXING

Vargas' Stock Down, but He's Ready to Sign

July 27, 1996|TIM KAWAKAMI

What's next for Fernando Vargas?

Suddenly, the 18-year-old welterweight, who had assumed he would vault into the professional ranks after Olympic triumph, is a slightly less than golden free agent.

Vargas, from Oxnard, has been associated both with the Shelly Finkel-Duva family alliance and with Stanley Levin, who manages Roy Jones Jr., and said Thursday afternoon that he will decide with whom to sign in a matter of days or weeks.

"Knowing him, he's going to want to get started right away," said his mother, Alicia Romo. "This is going to make him want to fight again real fast. He knows what he's doing."

Vargas, who has insisted that trainer Eduardo Garcia will remain a major part of his team, believes that his power-hitting style suits the pros far better than the precision-based amateur scoring system.

"He's still one of the most marketable guys out there," said his close advisor Rolando Arellano. "And his game is the pro game."

Finkel, interestingly, is the high-powered East Coast manager who was spurned at the altar after Oscar De La Hoya was the only U.S. fighter to win gold four years ago. They settled a breach-of-contract lawsuit only last year.

Because Vargas missed out on the gold, he isn't expected to land the kind of $1-million deal Bob Mittleman and Steve Nelson (since fired) put together to beat out Finkel for De La Hoya.

But Vargas remains a hot commodity.

"I'm not signing for pennies," Vargas said.

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