Boxing: Hodkinson courts danger with Vargas

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The Independent Online
PAUL HODKINSON, the World Boxing Council featherweight champion, has agreed a five-fight deal with ITV worth more than pounds 1m.

However, the contract does not provide for a fight against Colin McMillan, the former holder of the World Boxing Organisation version of the title.

Hodkinson's first contest under the deal will be a pounds 250,000 mandatory title defence against Goya Vargas, of Mexico, at the National Stadium in Dublin on 28 April.

Vargas has the pedigree to trouble Hodkinson and Barney Eastwood, the Liverpool boxer's manager, acknowledged: 'It's a dangerous fight. My heart will be in my mouth.'

Eastwood rejected a substantial offer for the bout to take place in Mexico and he said Hodkinson would be earning 'slightly more' for fighting in Dublin.

Hodkinson has defended the title three times since taking it from Vargas's compatriot, Marcos Villasana, in November 1991. Although Vargas has won 27 of his 31 fights, including 18 inside the distance, he has not fought outside Mexico.

Vargas may be the immediate focus of Hodkinson's attention, but McMillan is high on his list of priorities. 'The fight I'd love would be against McMillan and it nearly happened before he lost his title,' Hodkinson said. 'If we do get together, it's certainly won't be for a 50-50 purse.'

However, before they could meet McMillan, who has undergone surgery to a shoulder, would have to prove his fitness and form in a warm-up fight planned for May.