Fernando won his first world title knocking out Yori Boy Campas in 7 rounds in 1998. He lost that title to Felix Trinidad in 2000, sending Trinidad to the floor in round 4, but visiting the canvas 5 times himself before being stopped in round 12. Many consider the Trinidad Vs Vargas duel was one for the ages.
Fernando recovered the title beating his former sparring parter, Jose Flores by a knockout in 7 for the WBA's world title, but once again, he lost it to arch rival Oscar De La Hoya by knockout in 11 in another epic battle.
Fernando's corner team could be called a dream team of boxing: His trainer is International Boxing Hall Of Fame member Lou Duva, he is promoted by Bob Arum, who is also a member of the hall of fame, and his manager is Shelly Finkel, who also manages the career of Mike Tyson. His association with Duva made Fernando become friends with such world champions as Pernell Whitaker and Mark Breland.
Apart from Campas and Flores, Fernando's victims include former world champions Raul Marquez and Ike Quartey and current IBF world champ Winky Wright. His losses to Trinidad and De La Hoya remain his only career defeats and he remains a favorite of American cable tv giant HBO.
Fernando had trouble with the law in 2000, and there is an investigation going on about supposed steroids use before the De La Hoya fight.
Despite these problems, Fernando remains an accessible celebrity who loves his fans and likes to sign autographs for them and he also likes to feel liked by them. After his knockout win over Fitz Vanderpool on July 26, 2003, he stood at a corner and yelled I love you guys! to his fans. Vargas continued his comeback, on December 12, with a seventh round knockout of Tony Marshall that was shown live nationwide from Tucson, on Telemundo.
Fernando is very good friends with Julio Cesar Chavez.
Fernando's career record stands at 24 wins and 2 losses, with 22 wins by knockout.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced on November 20 of 2002 that it will be charging Vargas 100,000 dollars because of his alleged use of steroids before the De La Hoya fight.