Pacquiao decisions Vargas, regains WBO welterweight title

Updated: November 7, 2016

“The Legend vs. The Champ: Pacquiao vs. Vargas” marked the return of future Hall of Famer-turned Filipino Senator Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs), as he challenges Jessie Vargas (27-2, 10 KOs) for the WBO welterweight title on Saturday, November 5, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Following the richest fight in history, Pacquiao returned for only his second fight since his overwhelmingly-disappointing 12-round performance against Floyd Mayweather in May 2014. Pacquiao, who suffered a torn-rotator cuff in his right shoulder, returned in April to battle Timothy Bradley in a rubber match.

Pacquiao looked sensational during his 12-round drumming of Bradley. Pacquiao displayed flashes of the old Manny Pacquiao that simply demolished opponents with rapid hand and foot-speed from years ago. Against Bradley, Manny was simply being the Manny of old. However, as his fight with Vargas loomed, the question was whether Manny could do something that he hadn’t done in quite sometime…

Win, via knockout!

With Floyd Mayweather, Jr. sitting at ringside as a special quest, Pacquiao won Vargas’ WBO 147-pound strap, via 12-round unanimous decision. Pacquiao hasn’t won a fight, via knockout in nearly seven years. The last person Pacquiao defeated by knockout was Miguel Cotto in December 2009.

“I thought Manny fought a good fight and Vargas showed good heart,” said Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach. “I was a little disappointed because Manny couldn’t get the knockout.”

Having defeated Vargas, this is Pacquiao’s third stint as WBO welterweight champion. At 147, there is Manny Pacquiao and then there is everybody else – Bradley, WBC champion Danny Garcia, WBA champion Keith Thurman, IBF titlist Kell Brook, Eroll Spence, Andre Berto, Shawn Porter.

None of these fighters mentioned above are within Pacquiao’s range, whether he’s a full-time fighter, or not. However, there is speculation that Amir Khan (at long last) may finally get that fight with Pacquiao that he has been begging for so long.

Khan, a former unified WBA/IBF junior welterweight champion, moved up from welterweight to middleweight to challenge WBC middleweight champion Saul Alvarez in May. Khan was viciously KO’d and hasn’t fought since.

Some may question Mayweather’s appearance at the Pacquiao fight. Why was he there to watch Manny? Is a rematch of the richest fight in history, more than likely, in play?

“Floyd was very polite,” said Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank. “He asked Todd if he can attend the fight and we got him credentialed. It’s not like he just barged in,” Arum stated regarding Floyd Mayweather attending. “As far as I know Floyd is retired.”

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