Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao may not have scored a knockout win over American Jessie Vargas as their fight went the full distance of 12 rounds, but the former put in enough of work to defeat and dethrone Vargas for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight championship belt.
With Floyd Mayweather Jr. and WBC welterweight champion Terence Crawford watching at ringside, Pacquiao put up a masterful domination of Jessie Vargas who, for a brief moment in the fight, showed some flashes of brilliance in the middle rounds only to fizzle out down the stretch.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., if he decides to come out of retirement, is one of the possible next opponents for Manny Pacquiao and so is Terence Crawford. Other names being lined up are former WBC welterweight title holder Danny Garcia and WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman.
Interestingly, Timothy Bradley, whom Pacquiao defeated in April before deciding to retire from boxing was one of the commentators during the fight. Around the eighth or ninth round, Bradley was saying that Pacquiao already had the victory in the bag unless Vargas manages to connect his mean right cross. That did not happen so Pacquaio coasted to a unanimous decision win.
Apart from winning the WBO welterweight belt anew, his third time in his career, Pacquiao also realized his dream date with history as he also became the first incumbent senator who is also a boxing champion, the first ever in the world.
In Philippine politics, Pacquiao is a known ally of sitting Philippine President, the controversial Rodrigo Duterte, so he is expected to get more than his fair share of a hero’s welcome when he returns to the country in a few days time.
It is imperative for Pacquiao to return to the Philippines as he needs to be back in the Philippine Senate when it resumes its session on November 7, which is just a mere two days from his fight.
Hardly a retirement
After the fight, Manny Pacquiao now totes a 59-6-2 win-loss-draw record while Vargas fell to a 27-2 win-loss slate, notes the Los Angeles Times.
While Manny Pacquiao proved victorious in his comeback fight from his brief retirement, many critics are saying that the Pacman hardly went on retirement.
His last fight was on April 9 this year where he also won via unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley. Immediately after the fight, he decided to retire to focus on his campaign as he was then running for one of the 12 seats in the Philippine Senate.
He won during the May 9 elections and officially became a Senator on June 30. He started working in the Senate in the last week of July after the opening of the 17th Congress. A little over a week later or in the first week of August, he announced that he was coming out of retirement and declared that he will vie for the WBO welterweight championship against Jessie Vargas. He has been training in the Philippines since then.
So basically, it was hardly a retirement but a brief respite from boxing that boxers normally take after a big fight.
A decisive victory
Based on Twitter feeds from those who had watched the fight all over the world, Pacquiao was ahead of Vargas 12 to 1, with the 1 point of Vargas coming by way of an even round in the 6th.
But boxing experts believe that the fourth to the sixth rounds were won handily by Vargas as he displayed a good stance and showed why he became the WBO welterweight champion.