DAVAO CITY: Filipino boxing officials, promoters and managers hailed the victory of new WBO world welterweight champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao against dethroned champion Jessie “Ruthless” Vargas via a convincing unanimous decision last Saturday night (Sunday in the Philippines) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Sen. Manny has proven once again to the whole world that he is a worthy champion so unlike what his critics are saying about his age,” said Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham Mitra.
Pacquiao who successfully made a comeback after a very brief retirement, is turning 38 years old next month. He is the first elected senator to win a professional boxing title.
“We congratulate Sen. Manny and GAB looks forward to more fights with his coming out of retirement. We will continue to do our mandate and to look after his welfare as well as other boxers,” added Mitra.
Pacquiao is conducting a Senate hearing on how to improve professional boxing and with the possibility of creating a boxing commission. “I hope we will have another crack at (Floyd) Mayweather with a healthy Pacman inside the ring soon. Exciting days ahead of Philippine boxing with him as our model,” said Mitra.
Mayweather Jr. was also present and invited by Pacquiao to watch the fight.
Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) president Juan Ramon Guanzon, on the other hand, congratulated Pacquiao but was worried before the decision was announced after the fight. “One judge scored only one point win for the Senator. (It) had me worried for a moment Manny might be victim of another ridiculous decision,” said Guanzon, a former GAB chairman.
Judges Glenn Feldman and Glenn Trowbridge both scored it 118-109, while judge Dave Moretti saw it at 114-113.
Pacquiao, who scored a knockdown in the second round, improved his record to 59 wins with 38 knockouts against 6 losses and 2 draws, while the 27-year old Vargas suffered his only second defeat with 27 wins and 10 knockouts.
“(I’ve) noticed a significant drop in the volume of punches thrown by the Pacman. Could be because of advancing age. Similar with the late Flash Elorde in his last few fights,” said Guanzon.
WBC Asia and OPBF International Boxing Promoter of the Year Brico Santig was also impressed on Pacquiao’s performance.
“Maganda ang laban. Dominated ni Boss Manny. Pero medyo nawala ang excitement ng suntok kulang sa bitaw (The fight was good. Boss Manny dominated it. But there is something lacking in excitement in the throwing of punches),” said Santig of Highland International Promotions.
Sanman Promotions chief executive officer Jim Claude “JC” Manangquil of General Santos City and IBF world flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas’ manager-trainer Joven Jimenez both saw the fight also in Las Vegas.
“Pacquiao’s performance was really good especially at his age. He is still at the top level,” said Manangquil, who is also in the US for the fight of his boxer Harmonito dela Torre next week.
Pacquiao is expected to be given a hero’s welcome upon his arrival soon in General Santos City.