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Pacquiao vs. Vargas: Should Jessie be a big underdog?

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By Gerardo Granados: This Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, the WBO welterweight titlist Jessie Vargas will try to make the first defense of his title against the rugged veteran lion king Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao. The betting odds still are too wide in my eyes.

It is like next Saturday night, Vargas was to fight against Pacman of old, the one who walked thru clean hard punches of bigger foes, the one who destroyed Ricky Hatton and also beat to the pulp Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. But didn’t those fights took place seven and six years ago?

After Pacquiao was brutally knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez (2012), Manny has been carefully matched against boxers without solid punching power and also opponents moving up in weight.

Let’s not forget that Juan Manuel Marquez moved from lightweight division up to a catch-weight of 144 when he was robbed back in November 2011. Then Manny fought against Tim Bradley, Desert Storm moved up from 140 and won the fight on the score cards, but as the reader must know, it was an absurd ruling from the judges.

Pacquiao then fought Marquez, losing by the way of one of the most brutal knockouts in the last 25 years. Manny took a long layoff and came back against a tailor made, slow, flat footed, one dimensional Brandon Rios who also moved up in weight. Bam Bam was brave and determined but was no match for Pacquiao speed and mobility.

It was not a surprise when Pacquiao rematch Tim Bradley and as expected Manny beat him with ease. But things turned weird when a totally unexperienced Chris Algieri moved up from 140 to challenge Pacquiao. The result was as predictable as waiting for the sun to come up in the morning. Algieri was tailor made for Manny and was outclassed looking clueless inside the ring.

Against Floyd Mayweather, who isn’t a power puncher, Pacquiao not only wasn’t unable to decipher the Mayvinci code; but also was hesitant to attack due Floyd´s sharp right hand.
Could you have imagined that a robbery in a first fight would end up in a trilogy? Well that’s what happened when Manny fought Tim Bradley for the third time last April.

Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting his first opponent with more than enough punching power to hurt him since he fought Juan Manuel Marquez four years ago. It has been years since Manny lost his killer instinct, even if he was able to drop Bradley and Algieri several times, Pacquiao simply didn’t finish them off, giving them the chance to continue. I have the impression that against Rios, Pacquiao carried Brandon to the last round due his unwillingness to knock him out.

With the exception of Floyd Mayweather, Vargas is the first opponent not directly coming up in weight to fight him. In his last fight Jessie pulled a big upset against undefeated Sadam Ali, stopping him in the ninth round. Against Bradley, Vargas was robbed from a TKO victory when referee stopped the actions with seconds left in the last round, admitting he tough he had heard the bell ring.

Not only Vargas has the size, height and reach, he also developed great speed during his training camp which is an indispensable tool to use against Manny. Jessie also has acquired the experience and the technical ability to compete against Senator Pacquiao, who splits his time between his work at the Filipino Congress and boxing. Either you are a full time Senator or you are a full time prize fighter.

I want to make clear that I don’t think Vargas will have an easy night against the experienced Pacquiao, in fact Jessie´s chin will be tested, but he is young, strong hungry lion, so I expect him to resist Manny´s punching power.

I doubt that Manny´s reflexes and punch resistance are still the same as seven years ago. If Kronos doesn’t reach Pacquiao, I might even suspect of wrong doing. Because after 21 years as a prize fighter, having debuted way back on January 1995, after have climbed thru nine weight divisions from the flyweight to the welter limit, with only 3 months to turn 38 it would be incomprehensible not to see the effects of time and the battles he has taken in the past.

Maybe Pacquiao was touched by God and he will never grow old. Perhaps Vargas is a huge underdog only in the eyes of the Pacman´s fans. But for sure this fight won’t turn out into a boring run-hug fest.

I don’t think Vargas is such a big underdog and I am going to bet on him to win by TKO11. But what about the reader, do you agree?

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