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Pacquiao-Vargas card to have four title fights

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By Chris Williams: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has put together the November 5th Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas fight card that will have four world title matches at stake at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Pacquiao-Vargas fight will be shown on Top Rank pay-per-view at 9:00 p.m. ET on November 5.

This is probably not a good idea of Arum to have matched Pacquiao against Vargas, because it’s not a fight that will sell no matter who the 84-year-old promoter puts on the undercard. Pacquiao’s last fight against Tim Bradley brought in 400,000 buys on HBO. Few fans wanted to see a third fight between Pacquiao and Bradley, but they got it anyway.

As a result, the fans didn’t purchase the fight card in large numbers. We saw the same PPV numbers in the past when Arum matched Pacquiao against Chris Algieri in 2014 and Brandon Rios in 2013. Pacquiao-Algieri brought in 400,000 buys on HBO, and Pacquiao-Rios pulled in 470,000 buys. You would have to conclude that Pacquiao-Vargas might do worse than the recent Pacquiao-Bradley 3 fight buys. Vargas is not a guy that boxing fans appear to be excited at seeing.


What is a surprise to many boxing fans is the Pacquiao-Vargas fight card won’t be televised on HBO PPV. They passed on the option on showing the Pacquiao vs. Vargas fight in November, as they’re only showing one PPV event in that month with the Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward fight. HBO has budget constraints that will keep them from showing more than one fight on PPV.

By stacking the Pacquiao(58-6-2, 38 KOs) undercard with three world title fights, Arum seems to be banking on the boxing public wanting to purchase the card. I’m not sure if that’s realistic though, because fans typically purchase cards due to the main events, not the understand fights.

The main event fight between Pacquiao and Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) is not a great one, as Vargas isn’t a big star and he’s clearly not a pay-per-view type of fighter. Asking fans to purchase a fight between Pacquiao and Vargas is probably going to wind up being a fail for Arum, no matter how many title fights he stacks on the undercard.

Here are the undercard fights for the Pacquiao-Vargas card:

WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) vs. Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs). – This is the co-feature bout on the card. It’s a decent fight, but Donaire’s stock has dropped since losing to Nicholas Walters and Guillermo Rigondeaux in the past. I don’t think it matters who Donaire faces. If he’s not going to be trying to avenge his losses to Walters or Rigondeaux, then I don’t think he’s going to attract a lot of interest.

Magdaleno isn’t well-known with the casual boxing fans, so this fight isn’t likely going to make fans want to purchase the Pacquiao-Vargas card. It’s nice that Arum is finally putting Donaire on Pacquiao’s undercard after all these years, but I think it’s too lat in the game to make any difference. If Arum had done this in 2012, when Donaire was ‘Fighter of the Year,’ then it would help a little. But for Arum to add Donaire now at this point in his career, I don’t see it resulting in more PPV buys for the card.

“I am working great with my new trainer, Ismael Salas. We are learning about each other and he’s instructing me about a more precise, compact way of fighting, but still [how to] be very explosive as everyone is going to see on Nov. 5,” Donaire said to ESPN.com.

At 33, I think the odds of Donaire being more powerful are slim and none. His power is fine as it is. Donaire’s problems are his chin and his stamina. Donaire doesn’t take punishment nearly as well as he dishes it out, and he’s getting older now.

WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (20-0, 18 KOs) vs. Hiroshige Osawa (30-3-4, 19 KOs) – this will be the first defense for Valdez. Unfortunately, he’s not fighting a good opponent. Out of all the contenders in the division, this is not one of the better ones. It’s too bad Arum couldn’t match Valdez against the likes of Gary Russell Jr., Jesus Cuellar, Carl Frampton, Abner Mares, Lee Selby, Nicholas Walters, Joseph Diaz Jr., or Leo Santa Cruz. Boxing fans would love to see that kind of match-up. I don’t think fans will want to purchase the Pacquiao-Vargas card on PPV to see Valdez destroy and over-matched Osawa.

Zou Shiming (8-1, 2 KOs) vs. Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (39-1-2, 24 KOs) – this fight doesn’t make sense at all, because Shiming already beat Onesongchaigym by a one-sided 12 round decision two years ago. The fact that they’re fighting each other again is kind of sad, because it shouldn’t be on pay per view. If anything, Shiming should be trying to avenge his loss to Amnat Ruenroeng from 2015 in which Shiming was easily beaten by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores of 116-111, 116-111 and 116-111.


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