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Pacquiao not sure if he’ll resume career after Vargas fight

Jessie Vargas Manny Pacquiao

By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao isn’t entirely sure whether he’ll continue his boxing career after he challenges WBO 147lb champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) on November 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao, 36, doesn’t want to look past his fight against Vargas to make a decision on his career at this point.

Things could work badly for the 5’6 1/2” Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs), because he’s facing a guy a lot bigger than him in the 5’10 ½” Vargas. If Pacquiao loses this fight, then it’s pretty clear that he has nowhere to go at least in the 147lb division.

The 36-year-old Pacquiao has been losing almost as much as he’s been winning in the last four years of his career, and that’s not good. His promoter Bob Arum isn’t doing him any favors by matching him against the 27-year-old Vargas, because there’s no real upside in that fight. If Pacquiao beats Vargas, no one will career, because Vargas was already beaten soundly by Tim Bradley in 2015.

Vargas also has a couple of controversial decisions in the past against Khabib Allakhverdiev and Anton Novikov. He’s not a big puncher, and he’s a paper champion in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. If Pacquiao loses to Vargas, then there’s nowhere to go in the 147lb division, because the top fighters are clearly better than Vargas. You can’t throw Vargas in the ring with Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Kell Brook and Danny Garcia and expect him to beat those guys. He won’t.

“I don’t know yet. Right now my focus is on this fight. Then I go back and do my job then I could think about 2017,” said Pacquiao when asked what his future plans are after his fight against Vargas. “One fight at a time. I take them one at a time. I cannot say yes right now. First I think about this fight. Today, Jessie Vargas is the most important fight of my career.”

Pacquiao won his last fight against Tim Bradley last April in their third fight between them. It was their rubber match. The fight brought in only 400,000 buys, which a huge drop off from the 800,000 buys in the second Pacquiao vs. Crawford fight in 2014, and an even further drop off from the 890,000 buys in their first fight in 2012. Hopefully, Arum doesn’t keep trotting out Bradley for Pacquiao to fight because it’s a fight that is just tired, and the whole chapter needs to be closed once and for all.

If Pacquiao does get by Vargas, he’ll be the new World Boxing Organization welterweight champion. What’s convenient for Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is the fact that Bradley is the #2 WBO contender for the WBO belt right behind Pacquiao. This means there’s a very good chance that we could see a fourth fight between these guys. I would hope that Arum would know better, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he makes that fight just because it would be another in house Top Rank fight matching his own fighters against each other.

The guys that boxing fans want to see Pacquiao fight is from this list: Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr., Adrien Broner, Amir Khan, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The fighters that Arum will likely pick from for Pacquiao’s next fight is from this list: Terence Crawford, Bradley, and Vargas. Two of those fighters would involve rematches for Pacquiao.

The only new blood for Pacquiao would be Terence Crawford, who isn’t a PPV draw. He’s not a big name, but that likely won’t stop Arum from making the fight anyway.

Arum expects the Pacquiao vs. Vargas fight to do well on Top Rank’s PPV on November 5 despite HBO not being involved, and despite it not being a great fight involving a big name opponent. For some reason, Arum thinks that a lot of boxing fans are going to want to pay to see the Pacquiao-Vargas fight. I’m not believing that myself. I think it was a failed idea on Arum’s part to put Pacquiao in with a no name like Vargas, and I think Arum is going to find out the hard way after the fight is over that it’s not one of those ‘if I build it they will come’ type of things. It’s not a good fight. It would be a good fight on regular HBO or ESPN, but not on PPV in my opinion.

“He [Vargas] fought Sadam Ali to win the title and Sadam Ali is a terrific fighter – he was a member of the US Olympic Team, he was undefeated and certainly not a tomato can and he entered the fight a big favorite over Vargas and Vargas dominated him and eventually knocked him out,” said Arum. “ I think that victory alone qualifies Vargas for top level of fighters and opponents for Manny.”

We already saw that Vargas is NOT among the top fighters in the 147lb division when he lost 11 of the 12 rounds in his loss to Tim Bradley last year. Arum can build up Vargas all he wants, but the fact of the matter is boxing fans are not excited about the Pacquiao-Vargas match-up, and I believe they’re going to show that on November 5 by not buying the fight on PPV. If they liked the match-up, you would know by now, because there would be a ton of buzz about the fight. There isn’t any buzz other than the buzz that is coming from Top Rank and Arum about the fight.

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