Jessie Vargas’ trainer Dewey Cooper says he’s improving his fighter’s power

Jessie Vargas/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.


Dewey Cooper isn’t the most well-known trainer in the world. But his passionate way of answering questions could help grow his popularity.

Cooper on Thursday was part of a conference call promoting the Nov. 5 welterweight title fight between champion Jessie Vargas and Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95). Cooper trains Vargas, who has only 10 knockouts in 28 pro bouts. That’s a low knockout ratio of 36 percent.

But Cooper has been telling reporters that he is improving Vargas’ punching power through various techniques and exercises. He scoffs at the notion that a fighter either has power or he doesn’t, and that one can’t improve upon that power.

By the time Cooper was finished explaining to an inquiring reporter, he had left a lasting impression.

“He feels it,” Cooper said of Vargas’ newfound heavier punch. “He feels it in his knuckles, he feels it in his forearm when he hits, he feels it in his hip when he hits and it’s a natural thing, guys. For anyone in the world to say someone cannot improve on something is just ignorant. We can improve our reading speed, we can improve our running speed, we can improve our strength on a bench press, so why wouldn’t we be able to improve our punching power?

“Everything’s about technique and exercise on the right sports specific move that should make you improve. And that’s all we’ve done. It’s not rocket scientist. We’re just smart enough to know not to limit ourselves and our possibilities. We can do the improbable, we could do the impossible, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen on Nov. 5, guys.”

Vargas (27-1) has had one fight under Cooper. That was March 5 when Vargas stopped Sadam Ali in the ninth round to win the vacant title. Vargas decked Ali twice.


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High-energy trainer Dewey Cooper believes Jessie Vargas belongs in Nov. 5 fight against Manny Pacquiao

Jessie Vargas/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.


All one has to do is spend a couple of minutes with Dewey Cooper, and it’s obvious this is a trainer with emotional energy to burn. He speaks in electric, as well as confident, tones.

That was certainly the case when Cooper recently spoke about his fighter, welterweight champion Jessie Vargas, who Nov. 5 will defend his title against Manny Pacquiao
at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95).

This is only going to be Cooper’s second fight with Las Vegas’ Vargas. In their first, Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) won the vacant title with a ninth-round TKO of then-undefeated Sadam Ali in March in Washington D.C.

Winning that fight is likely a far cry from what Vargas will have to do to beat Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs). That’s not to mention this will by far be the biggest stage on which Vargas has performed. Some guys fall apart in that situation, others handle it well. Cooper believes the latter will be the case for Vargas.

“Psychologically, I pound the message to him every day that this event is not too big for us,” Cooper said. “We belong here. Everyone keeps saying Pacquiao chose Jessie. No, Pacquiao didn’t choose Jessie. Jessie won a world title on March 5 by knocking out an undefeated fighter, sensational fighter, and that is what put Jessie in the position to have a Manny Pacquiao fight.

“In other words, we earned every step of this. And we’re looking forward to a great opportunity.”

Cooper then suggested a changing of the guard is in order.

“We respect Manny, we love Manny,” Cooper said. “But at the end of the day, it’s survival of the fittest, and it’s our time. Life is about transitions and this is definitely a transitional time in boxing and we want to be ahead of that pack.”

Pacquiao is 37 and likely won’t fight much longer.

Cooper is a former cruiserweight who went 19-3-3 with 11 knockouts fighting from 2001-12.


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