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Vargas expects to be superior to Pacquiao

Jessie Vargas Manny Pacquiao

By Chris Williams: WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) figures himself to be superior to challenger Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) in every department under the book in their fight next Saturday night on November 5 on Top Rank pay-per-view at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Vargas has never been a knockout puncher in his life, but he expects to do the job on the 37-year-old Pacquiao on Saturday night. Vargas has only knockout one opponent in his last 12 fights, and that was Sadam Ali, who he stopped in the 9th round last March.

Whether that means that Vargas has suddenly become a puncher at age 27 is the big question. It might just mean that Sadam Ali doesn’t have the greatest chin.

“You are going to see a faster, stronger, more intelligent and with a better ring IQ [fighter],” said Vargas to sports.inquirer.net . “Just overall a better fighter. A new Jessie Vargas was born in 2016 and everyone seems to like it. And now we are going to give you a bigger and better Jessie Vargas come Nov. 5th,” said Vargas.

Vargas didn’t do much in his fight against Tim Bradley last year other than hurt him in the 12th round. If Bradley had remained professional and fought smart in the 12th round like he had in the previous 11, he wouldn’t have gotten hurt. Instead, Bradley stood and swung in a wild way and this left him open to a right hand from Vargas.

It was the same mistake that Bradley made in his narrow 12 round decision win over Ruslan Provodnikov in 2013. Bradley made an easy fight hard for himself by electing to trade with the Russian fighter.

Vargas isn’t a big puncher, but it doesn’t take a big puncher to hurt somebody if a fighter chooses to fight in a primitive manner, which is what we saw from Bradley in the 12th round against Vargas.

Pacquiao can’t afford to just dive in thoughtlessly like he did in his 6th round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. He fought in a stupid manner in that fight and wound up paying for it by getting knocked out.

“I am going to use every advantage I have in this fight. As an experienced fighter, we have to use every advantage, and we will,” said Vargas.

The main advantage that Vargas has over Pacquiao is his size and reach. If Vargas is going to use his size to his advantage, then it means he’s going to stay on the outside and look to box Pacquiao by jabbing him, and trying to not get hit. That’s the safest thing Vargas can do. If he chooses to punch it out with Pacquiao, then he’s going to get beaten to the punch. Vargas isn’t made for the type of fight.

Here is what Vargas can do for him to beat Pacquiao:

– Jab from the outside

– Move around the ring the way Floyd Mayweather Jr. did in his win over Pacquiao

– Tie Pacquiao up on the inside to keep him from getting his shots off. Clinch a lot.

– Avoid throwing right hands in order to keep from getting countered by Pacquiao.

– Time Pacquiao’s attacks so that he can nail him with shots as he’s rushing in.

“Everyone is going to give me credit for being the strongest and most powerful puncher in the division,” said Vargas.

Vargas sounds as if he really believes he’s a big puncher now. That’s kind of sad, because he clearly isn’t. Even in his last fight against Sadam Ali, it was clear that Vargas isn’t a huge puncher. When then does Vargas believe he’s suddenly become a big puncher?

It might be his trainer is blowing smoke up his backside by telling him he’s a big puncher in order to boost his confidence. Trainers naturally smother their fighters with compliments in order to boost their confidence level up a notch or two. But in the case of Vargas, he appears to have bought it hook, line and sinker.

If I was Vargas, I would probably be looking to give him some honesty by telling him that he’s not a puncher so that he doesn’t go out and get annihilated by Pacquiao while fighting stupidly. You can’t take a weak puncher like Vargas and brainwash him into thinking he’s Hercules. That’s not good. Vargas will go out there and wind up getting embarrassed next Saturday night by Pacquiao.

In the aftermath, Vargas’ trainer will have to break the news to him that he’s not a puncher. You’d like to have guys like Vargas find the truth out ahead of time rather than afterwards, because Vargas’ best chance of beating Pacquiao to try and out-box him rather than to out-slug him.

“We have Plan A. Plan B is to follow plan A. And Plan C is to make sure Plan A works. And it will work,” said Vargas.

It’s good news that Vargas is talking of having alternate plans that he can switch to in case of emergency in the Pacquiao fight, but I have a feeling that Vargas won’t be able to get to the other plans if he gets caught by a big shot from Pacquiao and obliterated early in the fight.

The boxing fans will go crazy if Pacquiao gets a knockout on Saturday night, because he’s had a dry spell of seven years without knocking anybody out. You can argue that Pacquiao’s popularity has been steadily dropping for years due to him no longer knocking guys out, because boxing fans want to see KOs, not decisions. That’s why middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is so popular.


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