Vargas sees Pacquiao-Bradley as even fight
By Chris Williams: Newly crowned WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas is giving Tim Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) a great chance of beating the aging 37-year-old Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) in their third together on April 9 on HBO PPV.
Vargas, 26, believes that Pacquiao is aging and not the fighter he was eight years ago when he stopped Oscar De La Hoya in the 8th round. Vargas doesn’t think Pacquiao is the same fighter that defeated a past his best Antonio Margarito in 2010 in Texas. Vargas thinks Pacquiao has lost some of the energy that he once had that made him a good fighter.
Vargas figures that if Pacquiao couldn’t knockout Bradley in their first two fights, when he was a little younger than he is now, then he surely won’t be able to score a knockout of Bradley on April 9.
“It’s a 50-50 fight,” Vargas said to Rappler.com. “If Bradley ever had a chance, it’s right now. Manny Pacquiao’s on the decline and he doesn’t have the kind of strength he once possessed. I don’t think he’s the same fighter he was when he fought Oscar [De La Hoya], when he fought [Antonio] Margarito. I don’t think he has the same strength that he was dangerous for in the past.”
It’s pretty clear that Pacquiao isn’t the same fighter that he was in the past. One way of knowing that Pacquiao isn’t the same fighter is the way his knockouts have dried up completely since his stoppage of Miguel Cotto in 2009. Overnight, Pacquiao went from knocking everybody out to not knocking anyone out, period. Instead of Pacquiao knocking guys out, he’s the one that is getting knocked out.
I don’t know if Pacquiao still has it in him to fight hard enough to get a victory. In his last fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Pacquiao looked done after the 6th round. He didn’t put up the same kind of fight after the 6th that he did earlier in the fight. If Pacquiao is only going to be capable of fighting hard for six rounds, then I see him losing to Bradley. You can’t be a six-round fighter and expect to beat Bradley, because he’ll keep fighting hard and take the last six rounds if you don’t put out the effort needed to get the victory.
Pacquiao looked like he was on shutdown mode after six rounds against Mayweather last May. It was too easy for Mayweather after the 6th, because Pacquiao fought like he had mentally given up.
Vargas doesn’t think Bradley will be able to KO Pacquiao. He believes instead that Bradley’s best chance of beating Pacquiao will be by a decision. Bradley got a rare knockout in his last fight when he stopped a bloated and badly out of shape Brandon Rios in the 9th round last November. However, the victory was somewhat tainted due to how out of shape and rusty Rios was in that fight. Bradley probably won’t be able to KO Pacquiao, because you need to be able to punch hard to the head to stop him.
Bradley’s mainly just a hard puncher to the body. For some reason, he can’t get the same kind of power on his shots when he’s throwing to the head compared to when he’s throwing to the body. Unless Pacquiao ducks down to the waist level with his head, I don’t see Bradley being able to knock him out. I do think Bradley will win the fight though and send Pacquiao into retirement with a big fat loss.
Vargas, 26, has made it no secret that he would like to fight Bradley in a rematch next so that he can avenge his loss to him from last year. Bradley dominated Vargas for 11 rounds, but in the 12th, Vargas had him badly hurt from a right to the head. The referee Pat Russell made a mistake in stopping the fight a little early after he heard 10 second bell sound. He thought it was the end of the fight, so he stopped it just as Vargas was trying to finish a badly hurt Bradley off. I don’t blame Vargas for wanting a rematch with Bradley. I don’t think Vargas will win, but you can definitely understand why he’d want a rematch with him.
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