Unbeaten in six professional fights, Devin Vargas is just 23 - a mere novice when compared to the 30-something behemoths of the modern-day heavyweight division.
But Vargas, a year removed from a disappointing quarterfinals loss at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, said he wouldn't mind receiving a shot at Baltimore native Hasim Rahman's World Boxing Council title.
"I've been in this for 15 years, so there's no use in waiting," said Vargas, who will fight Albert Newberry tonight before an expected sellout crowd of 1,800 at Martin's West in Woodlawn. "I'm an exciting fighter, and the heavyweight division has lost all of its excitement.
"I don't care so much about muscle because speed is power," added Vargas, a self-managed fighter from Toledo, Ohio. "Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones - they all believed that."
In Newberry (5 feet 10, 200 pounds), Vargas faces his first opponent with a winning record. Newberry, of Ottumwa, Iowa, is 3-0 with two knockouts; Vargas' previous rivals entered the ring with a combined record of 16-33-6.
"I consider this a step up. I'm stepping up in rounds, stepping up the level of opponent," said Vargas, who began his career with three straight first-round knockouts, followed by three straight decisions.
Also fighting on the card in separate bouts are Baltimore supermiddleweights Tony Cygan (8-0, six KOs) and left-hander Mike Paschall (6-0, two KOs), and heavyweights Jed Phipps (15-3, eight KOs) and Mike Dietrich (6-0, two KOs).