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Manny Pacquiao to fight Jessie Vargas – It’s official!


By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao has reportedly confirmed that he’ll be facing World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Jessie Vargas for his next fight on November 5 rather than facing Terence Crawford, another one of Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s stable fighters.

Pacquiao, Crawford and Vargas are all Top Rank fighters, so the Pacquiao-Vargas fight will be an in house one for Arum where he has his fingers on the gearshift of the promotion. The Pacquiao vs. Vargas fight is expected to take place at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Yes, the fight is on,” said Pacquiao via Fight News. “I have agreed to a November 5 fight with reigning WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas.”

Pacquiao was supposed to be meeting with his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank this week, and it looks like they met and the decision was made. Pacquiao’s choice of Vargas was already revealed last week by his personal adviser Michael Koncz, who told the LA Times. Arum said he wanted to speak with Pacquiao himself before he made the announcement for his next opponent, so he flew over to the Philippines along with Koncz this week.

It looks like Pacquiao didn’t change his mind by switching over to Crawford. Why would he? A fight against Crawford would likely bring in few pay-per-view buys, because he’s not a PPV seller, and Pacquiao would have been forced to chase him around the ring for 12 rounds unless Crawford decided to stand and fight him. I’d like to think that Crawford would fight Pacquiao in a one-on-one fight, but I don’t think Crawford would bother changing his basic fighting style just to entertain the paying boxing fans and to win over the fans. I think Crawford would stick with his running fighting style so that he could beat Pacquiao by a decision. It wouldn’t be a good move for Pacquiao to take the fight with Crawford because he’s not good at chasing down fighters that move nonstop and counter punch.

Pacquiao, 37, will be training for the fight the entire time in the Philippines rather than splitting the training camp in half by doing half of it in Los Angeles, California at his trainer Freddie Roach’s Wildcard Gym.

It’s no real surprise to me that the 37-year-old Pacquiao chose to go with the proven entity Vargas rather than fighting Terence Crawford, a fighter that is mainly popular just in his small hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Vargas is the potential of bringing in a lot of pay-per-view buys because he’s got a lot of Mexican boxing fans. Crawford doesn’t have a lot of fans outside of Omaha, except from some of the hardcore fans that like to see constant movement in fights. It’s unknown which fighter Arum wanted Pacquiao to fight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the 84-year-old Arum was hoping that he would fight Crawford. The 28-year-old Crawford needs a considerable boost to become a pay-per-view money maker for Arum’s Top Rank stable. When you can stand on someone’s shoulders, you can see far. With the help of Pacquiao, Crawford might turn into the new money stream for Top Rank if he whips him badly enough.

Yes, Pacquiao would be the casualty in a loss to Crawford, as it would be a horrible way for the Filipino fighter to have his career ended after years of bringing money in for Top Rank. But you know the old sayings, ‘The show must go on,’ and ‘Out with the old and in with the new.’ If it were me, I wouldn’t want to fight someone that I had to chase around the ring if I were Pacquiao’s age. I’m sorry, but I’d tell Arum that I was never, ever fight Crawford, because I don’t want to chase him for 12 rounds. I would then insist on fighting someone popular like Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia or Adrien Broner. I would have never agreed to fight Jessie Vargas. Pacquiao was kind to take that fight, but I see as another flop like Pacquiao’s last fight against Tim Bradley, who he beat last April. With all the options out there for Pacquiao, it seemed like an insane move for him to fight Bradley for a third time. Match making like that is just tired and without inventiveness. I wonder who thought that fight up?

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