Amir Khan hopes to set up a return to the big time by providing another demolition job in his second comeback fight on Saturday
The Briton did a quick job in a 39-second win against Phil Lo Greco five months ago.
But another impressive victory, this time against Colombia's Vargas (29-4-2, 14 KOs) on Saturday could secure Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) his place back at the top level, with the talk of a future fight against Manny Pacquiao or Kell Brook.
Former IBF welterweight champion Brook (37-2, 26 KOs), 32, is on a comeback of his own after two knockout defeats and two broken eye sockets.
Both Khan and his English rival have insisted they still want the fight, but Brook's last appearance was at super-welterweight.
Brook is due to box again on Sept. 22 in another warm-up fight but Pacquiao is perhaps the more realistic opponent for Khan to aim for. Khan and Pacquiao have been linked together before, in 2015 and last year, and the Filipino holds a world title of sorts.
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), 39, is a free promotional agent and Khan's promoter Eddie Hearn is hoping to stage a clash at a U.K. venue in December or February. Pacquiao, who has won world titles in eight divisions, stopped Lucas Matthysse in July and the Filipino has yet to announce plans for his next fight.
"The next fight [after Vargas] has to be big," Khan said."Hopefully I get a good win against Vargas, a spectacular win, then hopefully some big fight at the end of the year, Brook, Pacquiao or whoever.
"Pacquiao is probably top priority. He has a belt, we've talked before and we know each other. I'll be challenging for a world title in my opinion by the end of the year, or early next year.
"I work hard in training, I don't cheat and I'm running every day now. At 31, I'm at the peak of my career."
Khan is not afraid of facing the best, as he proved by stepping up two weight divisions to face Mexican Canelo Alvarez in May 2016, only to get emphatically knocked out after an impressive start.
But he has not been a world champion for six years and remains adrift of the welterweight elite of Terence Crawford (WBO), Errol Spence Jr (IBF) and Keith Thurman (WBA), as well as Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter.
"In the top ten, every fighter could be a massive fight, I want to fight the best out there," Khan said. "Later in my career or when I retire, people will maybe think 'Amir wasn't a bad fighter, he was all right'. I know I get a lot of stick, but I just go out and do what I've got to do."
Hearn says Khan will have some attractive options, Brook or Pacquiao, after Saturday's audition in Birmingham.
"He has the option to do whatever he wants, whether he wants the big pay-per-view fight in December or February or if he wants to go out to America instead."