This Saturday, Pacquiao vs Vargas Live boxing legend and Filipino senator Manny Pacquiao makes his return to the ring for a matchup with WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas.
The fight comes roughly seven months after Pacquiao announced his retirement. Vargas, who won the belt back in March from Sadam Ali, may represent the first of many future opponents for Pacquiao. This, of course, will depend entirely on the outcome.
Pacquiao, it seems, is targeting Vargas in an effort to show he still deserves being known as one of the best.
“I want to prove that I am still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters,” Pacquiao said, per Gareth A. Davies of the Telegraph. “I feel I still have a lot to prove. I am not done with boxing. I will continue to keep fighting as long as I love boxing and boxing still loves me. I do not feel old. I feel like I am still 27.”
Vargas, of course, is 27 years old, and he is a quality fighter in his own right. The Los Angeles native has just one loss on his resume to go with 27 wins and 10 knockouts. If Pacquiao cannot get past him, he may see fit to return to retirement and his political career.
Vargas believes he has what it takes to send Pacquiao there. He recently said the following, per Bob Velin of USA Today:
People are underestimating my power, and possibly if Manny underestimates my power it’s going to backfire on him. Everybody got a taste of the new and improved Jessie Vargas early this year when I captured my second world title and will see an even better Jessie Vargas Nov. 5. Not even I have seen myself this strong and this fast.
This is shaping up to be one entertaining bout with a very important outcome. Either Pacquiao officially announces his return to the boxing world with a win, or Vargas proves that he is a true champion and a rising star.
Let’s take a closer look at when and where you can watch the action unfold.
Pacquiao vs Vargas Live
Pacquiao vs. Vargas 2016
What: Fight for the WBO Welterweight Title
When: Saturday, November 5
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Where: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas
TV: Top Rank PPV
Tickets: Currently Available on VividSeats.com
What’s going down Nov. 5th besides Pacquiao vs. Vargas? Only 3 additional title bouts. pic.twitter.com/eotENdd5mJ
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) October 28, 2016
This fight will be presented and distributed by Top Rank Boxing via pay-per-view. Though Pacquiao has traditionally partnered with HBO, the company decided not to carry this fight. According to Bob Velin of USA Today, the decision was made because HBO executives felt the card fell too close to the company’s November 19 PPV featuring Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.
Top Rank President Todd duBoef eventually decided that the promotion could handle the PPV itself.
“When you work out the math, it’s like, ‘wait a second, I’ll just do all of these things myself, do it with all of our talented people and see if there’s stuff from different mechanisms off of these platforms to go ahead and create awareness,” duBoef said, per Velin.
While the upcoming fight hasn’t benefited from the type of marketing HBO can provide, it’s safe to say that it has still generated a buzz.
Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press
According to our friends at Odds Shark, Pacquiao is currently trending as a 7-1 favorite. There are probably a couple of reasons for this, even though Vargas is the younger, bigger fighter.
One possible reason is that Pacquiao holds the edge in experience. He has fought physical, hard-hitting fighters like Vargas before, and he’ll know how to handle himself throughout the fight. Another possible reason is that Vargas, while a champion, still isn’t viewed by the general public as a top-tier fighter.
According to undefeated fighter and Pacquiao-sparring-partner Jose Ramirez (17-0), it’s Pacquiao’s style that will give him an edge.
“Manny will surprise Vargas with his speed and movement,” Ramirez said, per Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times. “I throw a lot of punches, and I’d never been tired in the ring, but Manny made me as tired as I’ve ever been from the hips down through three rounds because he keeps me thinking and moving and tense, waiting for his explosive punches.”
Will Pacquiao be able to wear down his younger opponent, or will Vargas stand up to the challenge? We’ll find out on Saturday.
While Pacquiao-Vargas is obviously the big draw for this PPV event, it isn’t the only title bout on the card. In fact, all four matches will have hardware on the line.
Pacquiao vs. Vargas Full Card Bout Weight Clatt
Zou Shiming vs. Prasitsak Papoem Flyweight
Nonito Donaire vs. Jessie Magdaleno Junior Featherweight
Oscar Valdez vs. Hiroshige Osawa Featherweight
Jessie Vargas vs. Manny Pacquiao Welterweight
WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire will defend his title against unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno. Oscar Valdez will defend his featherweight title against Hiroshige Osawa. Zou Shiming and Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym will open the show in a fight for the vacant WBO flyweight belt.
All four fights on Saturday should be of high quality. With the card kicking off at 9 p.m. ET, Pacquiao and Vargas are scheduled to take the ring at 12 a.m. ET.
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