Pacquiao Retirement Lasts Less Than 6 Months – Well, it is official, Manny Pacquiao is returning on November 5th. Yesterday, the news broke that Pacquiao had settled on WBO world welterweight champion Jessie Vargas as his opponent. While there’s been talk that the fight may go to Dubai, the most likely venue is the Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Pacquiao last fought on April 9th, when he won a unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Though his promoter Bob Arum and his trainer Freddie Roach were both skeptical about Pac-man leaving the sport for good, Pacquiao did retire in the aftermath of that fight. His name was dutifully removed from the “active” boxing rankings and with his newly won Senate seat in the Philippines, Pac-man obviously had other things to keep him busy. But he never really shut the door on a return.
Last week, a short list emerged of potential opponents that Arum was offering. The list included Terence Crawford, Danny Garcia and apparently Jessie Vargas. All three hold versions of a world title at either 140 or 147 pounds, and with Vargas finally being the opponent the Pac-man team settled on, the fight will be at 147 pounds. Crawford, recently a pay-per-view headliner for the company, appeared to be Arum’s first choice, but Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach reportedly nixed the idea.
When November 5th rolls around, Pacquiao will be about a month shy of his 38th birthday. Now that he is back, the chances are good that he will fight at least once in 2017 as well.
A win over Vargas for Pacquiao will start the talk of a return match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather has been constantly sending out feelers for a return, and he has made his asking price of $100 million clear and public. There isn’t a potential opponent out there who could earn Floyd that kind of money — unless he moved up in weight to challenge Gennady Golovkin — so it figures that he will fall back and look at Pacquiao, the dance partner he cleared the most money with in the past.
As for Jessie Vargas, we last saw him in March of this year on HBO when he defeated then undefeated Sadam Ali at the DC Armory in support of the Luis Ortiz versus Tony Thompson heavyweight main event. Vargas was ahead on all three judges cards when he stopped Ali in the ninth round to grab the vacant WBO title.
Vargas is 27-1 overall and he will walk into the fight with considerable height and reach advantages. At 27 years old he is ten years younger than Pacquiao and this fight represents the biggest payday of his career. A win for Vargas could potentially send Pac-man back to retirement and derail a potential Mayweather rematch. That fact alone should attract some fans to Vargas.
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Though Vargas was not one of the choices of opponents in The Sweet Science’s poll on a potential next opponent for Pacquaio, it is important to know that 36% of the voters wanted to see Pacquiao “stay retired.” Crawford, the second choice, received about 30% of the votes.