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Arum: Pacquiao is ready for Mayweather after Vargas


By Eric Baldwin: Manny Pacquiao is fighting WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on November 5, not because of his World Boxing Organization title or for the money that he’ll be getting from the fight on pay-per-view. The reason why Pacquiao is taking the fight against Vargas is to stay ready for a potential big rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017. That’s what Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank is saying.

If the former eight division world champion Pacquiao beats Vargas, then he’ll be in the perfect position to face Mayweather next year if he comes out of retirement. Mayweather says he wants to get a nine-figure payday when/if he comes back looking for win No.50. While Mayweather recently mentioned wanting to fight UFC star Conor McGregor, the only realistic chance he has of getting that kind of payday is against Pacquiao, not McGregor.

McGregor reportedly wants a 50-50 deal for a fight against Mayweather, which means there’s no way that Mayweather will be able to get a nine-figure payday fighting that guy. Only against Pacquiao does Mayweather have a chance of getting that kind of money, but he needs to come back next year.

If Mayweather waits any longer than that the potential interest from boxing fans in a second fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather will likely drop off next to nothing, because both guys will be seen an old timers and no longer relevant fighters in this day and age in the sport.

“If Mayweather wants to return, Manny is ready, assuming he beats Vargas,” Arum said to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times.

The Pacquiao vs. Vargas fight will be taking place at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. It probably doesn’t matter where the fight takes place, because many boxing fans will be interested in seeing the fight wherever. It’s not a fight that is in demand by the boxing public, but there will still be many fans that will be willing to see it live and purchase it on PPV.

The fight fans wanted to see Pacquiao fight Terence Crawford or someone like Keith Thurman rather than fight Vargas. However, this is a safe bet for Pacquiao because it doesn’t make sense for him to take a risky fight against Crawford with a much bigger money fight against Mayweather possible for next year. If Pacquiao were to lose to Crawford, his rematch with Mayweather would never happen. The fight against Crawford can always happen in 2017 after the Mayweather fight or in place of that fight if the TMT star fails to come out of retirement.

The Pacquiao vs. Vargas fight won’t be televised on HBO pay-per-view. There’s talk of the fight being televised possibly on ESPN PPV. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum is expected to make a big announcement soon. According to reports, HBO didn’t want to schedule two pay-per-view events for November. They already have IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev facing Andre War on HBO PPV on November 19. Arum has Pacquiao fighting on November 5, and he can’t move him from that date due to it being a period where he has time off from his senator responsibilities in the Philippines.

“[Vargas] is a good, tough fight for Manny. Not a walk-off,” said Arum to LA Times.

Pacquiao, 37, retired last April after his 12 round decision win over Timothy Bradley in their third fight together. Pacquiao was elected into the senate in the Philippines, and it was thought that he would no longer have time to fight. However, Pacquiao says he misses boxing and his trainer, and he wanted to come back. Pacquiao is also coming back for the money, which isn’t going to be as much as he’s previously been accustomed to getting for his fights. With Pacquiao’s PPV numbers having dropped off since his fight against Mayweather last year, there isn’t enough buys to keep him getting the big guaranteed purses that he used to get.

You can argue that Pacquiao’s purses have dropped off largely because of the match-making that’s been done for him. There was no reason for Pacquiao to fight Bradley again last April. Few boxing fans wanted to see that fight, but Arum made it anyway. Few fans want to see Pacquiao fight Vargas, but the fight is being made anyway. Pacquiao could probably make a lot more money fighting Keith Thurman or Danny Garcia instead of Vargas, but those guys aren’t with Arum’s Top Rank stable and he likes to make fights between his own guys.

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