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Boxer Vargas Pleads Innocent

January 13, 2000

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) _ Unbeaten International Boxing Federation junior middleweight champion Fernando Vargas and four others pleaded innocent Wednesday to felony assault charges in Santa Barbara Superior Court.

The district attorney’s office also added an additional assault with a deadly weapon felony charge against Vargas, deputy district attorney Hilary Dozer said.

A trial date will be set Jan. 26.

Vargas, 22, and the others are charged with assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit a crime stemming from a July 25 altercation at a home in Summerland, located just outside Santa Barbara.

Conviction could carry a prison term of almost eight years.

The men are accused of beating Doug Rossi, 23, who broke up a fight between Vargas and a woman’s ex-boyfriend at her apartment. Vargas claimed he was out of the room when the assault took place.

Vargas, from Oxnard, Calif., has maintained his innocence. Others charged are Vargas’ cousin, Ernesto Vargas; Carlos Lopez; Freddie Flores, and Vincent Arenas.

Vargas has an 18-0 record with 17 knockouts.

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