Is Jessie Vargas the plan-B opponent for Pacquiao if Mayweather fight doesn’t get made?
By Dan Ambrose: Top Rank is currently attempting to work out a deal between their star WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) and WBA/WBC 147lb champion Floyd Mayweather Jr (47-0, 26 KOs) for a fight that could take place anytime between May and June.
April obviously is much too soon for that fight to take place given the amount of time needed to properly promote it. However, there’s a very good chance that the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight doesn’t take place due to the two sides possibly reaching a sticking point in the negotiations over the purse split.
If that’s the case then Arum will likely revert to what he’s done in the past where he trots out one of his Top Rank fighters to face Pacquiao. In this case, it’s quite possible that the plan-B opponent for Pacquiao will be WBA World light welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (26-0, 9 KOs). He’s with Top Rank, very interested in fighting Pacquiao, and he’s someone that Arum would have no problems negotiating the fight.
It’s clearly not the fight that fans want to see. Vargas is pretty much an unknown despite holding down the WBA 140lb title. Vargas is mainly known for his controversial win over Anton Novikov last August, as well as his wins over Antonio DeMarco and Khabib Allakhverdiev.
None of the fights were particularly interesting to watch, as Vargas doesn’t have much in the way of punching power and he tends to move a great deal when he fights. He’s maybe a little too mobile, but he kind of has no other choice but to move because he doesn’t have the power to stand in the power and slug it out with his opponents.
The issue with Arum selecting Jessie Vargas as Pacquiao’s plan-B backup plan if the Mayweather fight doesn’t work out is it’s going to be tough for Arum to ask fans to pay $70 to watch Pacquiao beat up on another obscure, over-matched non-puncher. Boxing fans just saw Pacquiao whip the light hitting Chris Algieri last November in a horrible mismatch. Not long before that mismatch, Pacquiao defeated Brandon Rios by a 12 round decision.
Rios looked like he didn’t belong in the same ring with Pacquiao. Fans gave Arum and Pacquiao a free pass for fighting Rios, because Pacquiao was fighting for the first time since his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. However, Pacquiao has now fought three times since the Marquez fight, and this would be his fourth fight.
If Pacquiao fights Vargas there might be some fans reluctant to open up their wallets and plunking down $70 to see what stacks up to be little more than a sick mismatch like the Algieri fight.
It would be nice if Arum found another opponent for Pacquiao to fight instead of Vargas, but I don’t think he’s going to. Arum doesn’t have much room in his Top Rank stable for potential opponents for Pacquiao.
Arum does have plenty of guys that Pacquiao has already fought before like Brandon Rios, Marquez and Algieri. I see Vargas getting the Pacquiao fight in the same way that Clottey got a fight against Pacquiao after Arum couldn’t put the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight together.