By Gerardo Granados: Since the November 5th fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jessie Vargas was officially announced, I have read and hear criticism towards this fight, but I don’t think it’s a bad match up at all. In fact, I believe this one might as well end up in the upset of the year. So, I asked to a friend sports journalist Niccolo Chaves if he thought that Max Kellerman had rushed to write off the Jessie Vargas vs Manny Pacquiao upcoming fight. But my friend didn’t know what Max Kellerman had said at the ESPN First Take show last week.
So I told him that basically Kellerman said Manny Pacquiao was cherry picking Jessie Vargas. My friend replied “Well, Vargas is no Sugar Ray Leonard, but he still has a belt and can be decent after the third Tim Bradley fight. When Floyd Mayweather and Pacquiao are involved, the expectations are so sky high that often their matches are mismatches.”
I asked to Niccolo: do you like the Vargas vs Pacquiao fight? Would you prefer to see Crawford run-hug Pacquiao instead? And his reply was, “No, no, I’m OK with the Pacquiao fight against Vargas. It’s not a dream match but has its boxing sense. Pacquiao, in my opinion is still one league above every other welter out there, and I believe he’s going to TKO Vargas, who has a good reach and can punch, but is very predictable and quite slow. I feel like it will be a sort of Pac-Rios type of fight, only a bit less one sided.”
Before I continue I want to make clear that I disagree with Kellerman on this particular issue but I do respect him as a boxing analyst as he is knowledgeable and speaks his mind.
Terence Crawford isn’t a dangerous foe for Pacquiao, but difficult instead, due his slick and elusive defensive skills. Terence has the proper defensive skills to apply the Floyd Mayweather blue print to defeat Manny on points, but not so to hurt him and to knock him out like Juan Manuel Marquez did because to do that Terence would have to be willing to take a risk and leave himself open to be hit by Pacquiao.
It gives me the impression Kellerman is giving no chance to Vargas not only not to win but not even to compete. Back in June 2015, the referee arguably robbed Vargas from a KO or TKO victory against Tim Bradley. If the reader doesn’t believe me, then just go search for the video and tell me if the referee didn’t ruin it for Vargas.
When Kellerman states that if Vargas beats Pacquiao it would prove Manny is washed as a top level fighter; it might disrespect Jessie, because Max is inferring that Vargas is a low level fighter. I mean either you give the same merit to Vargas if he wins, or you don’t give any merit to Crawford if Terence was the one who beat Pacquiao.
Kellerman said that Pacquiao fights Vargas for money as if Jessie is tailor made for him to look good. Vargas has a better chance to win than Tim Bradley when Desert Storm moved from 140 up to 147 pounds or Chris Algieri who also moved up. Brandon Rios was tailor made for Pacquiao and the fight didn’t receive so much criticism like the upcoming Vargas vs. Pacquiao bout.
I totally disagree with Kellerman when he said Pacquiao is avoiding Crawford and picking the harder fight to sell. Yes, Terence is the best 140 pounds fighter in the world, but Crawford was booed at his hometown due his boring boxing style and make a low 50k pay-per-view buys. Does fight fans are eager to see Crawford run hug pot shot Pacquiao just like Floyd did?
For sure Crawford can compete against Pacquiao, but other than a tailor made small Yuriorkis Gamboa and Viktor Postol who have Bud defeated to assume he can move up to 147 and scare Pacquiao?
When Chris Algieri was about to fight against Pacquiao, while interviewed by Fighthype.com, Kellerman stated that “Chris Algieri earned his shot”, based on him beating Emmanuel Taylor and Ruslan Provodnikov only.
The way I see it, if Algieri earned his shot so does Vargas. Algieri survived a severe beating from Ruslan “Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov and edged a close decision to win the WBO 140 trinket and then moved up to 147 to fight against Manny.
Vargas won the WBA – IBO 140 strap, defended it, then moved up and won the WBO 147 belt and defended it by TKO 9 against a solid contender Sadam Ali. Also, Jessie has never taken the kind of beating Algieri took against the “Siberian Rocky.”
When Algieri fought Pacquiao, he was totally inexperienced. Yes, he had an undefeated record of 20 wins with only 8 knockouts, but other than Provodnikov, he never defeated anyone worth of mention. Before Algieri fought Manny, he had only fought once at 12 rounds against Provodnikov. Chris lacked the experience to face Pacquiao, but Vargas isn’t a novice fighter with already four wins and one dubious loss at title fights and also let us not forget that Jessie will fight against an almost 38 years old Pacquiao, Jessie isn’t fighting against the Pacman who utterly beat Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton.
During his 14 pro bouts, Vargas stopped veteran former WBA super lightweight Vivian Harris, which only means Vargas acquired experience in that bout. Also, Jessie has beaten Josesito Lopez, Steve Forbes, former IBF super feather champion Antonio DeMarco, former WBC lightweight and Khabib Allakhverdiev and former WBA-IBO light welter. So how can Algieri be more deserving than Vargas?
When no one gave a dime and even thought Erik Morales´s health was in risk against Marcos Maidana, I gave “Terrible” a good chance to beat Chino. Last year I gave to the “Gypsy King” Tyson Fury a good chance to beat Wladimir Klitschko. The reader might remember that I asked if you were going to bet on Floyd Mayweather to win by unanimous decision against Manny Pacquiao. Years ago I wrote an article titled “The underdog that won, Margarito?” so I guess I was lucky enough to predict that one right. Now, that doesn’t mean that I do have lost money on a couple of fights.
I might be wrong but I am betting on Vargas to win by late TKO. Maybe the boxing purists won’t watch this bout. Perhaps the ones who believed that the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Amir Khan or that the Gennady Golovkin vs. Kell Brook are good fights won’t watch it either. But I am certain this is a good fight worth to watch and enjoy.
I think Max Kellerman uses double standards to write off the Vargas vs. Pacquiao upcoming bout. But what about the reader, do you agree with Max Kellerman?
Kellerman states Algieri earned his shot vs. Pac.
First take ESPN: