Manny Pacquiao wasn’t sensational in tonight’s main event, but had enough left to convincingly beat Jessie Vargas at the Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas. Pacquiao turned in a Unanimous Decision over 12 rounds, bringing his total pro outings to a vastly experienced 67, while picking up Vargas’ WBO Welterweight title. Scorecards came in at 114-113 and 118-109 twice, with Boxing Base seeing it 116-111.
First off, Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KO), who turns 38 in December, deserves a good amount of praise for capturing victory. Vargas (27-2, 10 KO), well in his prime at 27, was hungry and applied himself to the fullest tonight. So credit where it’s due. We also know Pacquiao is spreading himself thinly these days, between a top-of-the-ladder political career in the Philippines and a bunch of other stuff. Like, er, singing. So the man’s busy.
With that said, Pacquiao’s Welterweight threat level didn’t seem anywhere close to colossal here, but a flash knockdown off a straight left in the 2nd round did get the ‘Legend’ off to a good start. Pacquiao didn’t throw a whole lot of leather in this fight (surprisingly Vargas threw 562 punches to Pacquiao’s 409 total punches according to CompuBox), but his ring generalship alone was enough to bag most of the early and later rounds.
Vargas, who started off a bit rigid, was perhaps guilty of being a little too overpatient as he looked to nail Pacquiao with hard counters. Still, he put in an admirable performance overall, establishing his right hand, cracking Pacquiao on a number of occasions during the fight, and controlled the distance well. This gameplan didn’t make for a barnburner exactly, but, for a guy who carried four-inch height and reach advantages, he made good use of it. Pacquiao was made to think and keep wary.
To Vargas’ credit, he made no excuses post fight, only stating that it was close. It wasn’t neck and neck, but had certainly been a competitive contest. More alarmingly, the subject of Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather or Terence Crawford in 2017 was brought up, which, honestly, I never want to see. Like, ever. From a promotional and purse standpoint, I get it. They are massive money-spinners, lots of green. But come on, could a fading 2017 Pacquiao put a dent in either man? Unlikely.
Both fights could be potential stinkers, too, with Crawford perhaps even handing Pacquiao a career-ending knockout loss. Not how we want to remember Pacquiao. It would also be a shame to see Top 10 Welterweight prime boxer-bangers like Keith Thurman, Errol Spence and co have a crack at taking down this wilting version of Pacquiao. That’s where I’m at, anyway.
Pacquiao vs Vargas: Undercard Results
- Jessie Magdaleno (24-0, 17 KO) beats Nonito Donaire (37-4, 24 KO) via UD 12, captures WBO Junior Featherweight title
- Oscar Valdez (21-0, 19 KO) beats Hiroshige Osawa (30-4-4, 19 KO) via TKO 7, retains WBO Featherweight title
- Shiming Zou (9-1, 2 KO) beats Prasitsak Papoem (39-2-2, 24 KO) via UD 12, capture’s vacant WBO Flyweight title
What are your thoughts on Pacquiao vs Vargas and how did you score the action? Would Pacquiao have operated any better tonight if he were a ‘fulltime’ fighter? And would you rather see Pacquiao bow out from the sport now or chase down more big fights in 2017?