With a record of 27-1 with 10 knockouts, Jessie Vargas obviously does not have respectable knockout power to bother Manny Pacquiao when they square off on November 5 in Las Vegas.
And even if he is listed at 5’11” Vargas won’t present much problems for Pacquiao who has faced lanky or bigger opponents at the championship level. Just look at how Pacquiao disposed taller fighters Eric Morales, Antonio Margarito and Chris Algieri. Although Margarito did hurt Pacquiao at one point of their fight in November 2010, the Filipino was able to nullify his opponent’s reach advantage with his speed. Although we could write off Margarito as a shot fighter who did not have speed when he faced Pacquiao, the Filipino proved he does not struggle against taller or lanky fighters.
Pacquiao still has speed in his hands and his footwork, while no longer the same as it was years ago, can befuddle lesser opponents.
So will Pacquiao stop or knock out Vargas? I wish so………
The common opponent of Pacquiao and Vargas was Timothy Bradley, who defeated the Mexican via split decision in June 2015. In their fight, Bradley displayed more composure and landed cleaner punches. But then, Bradley had a rather good showing against Vargas because Bradley could afford to take Vargas’ best punches. If Vargas’ punches bothered Bradley, then Bradley would not have won the fight.
And given that Bradley’s third fight against Pacquiao saw him hit the deck two times, it is obvious Vargas will in for a really difficult fight against the Filipino.
Yet there are several factors going up against Pacquiao entering the fight; he is now a Senator and his attendance is much better than the one he had when he was a member of the Lower House. He even figured in a debate over the reimposition of the death penalty with of all the people, Senator Leila De Lima. So let’s hope Pacquiao was able to concentrate during the early part of his training in Manila against Vargas.
Another factor going up against Pacquiao is his age, and that could come into play against a younger opponent over 12 rounds. Let’s face it—we should never expect Pacquiao to be 70 to 80 percent at the latter part of a fight (particularly the ninth to 12th rounds) of what he was in the first three rounds.
As the taller opponent, Vargas can stick and jab and make Pacquiao chase him all night until the Filipino loses some gas in the latter rounds. This could be possible.
But look at how Vargas fought Bradley; he elected to face Bradley squarely and not stick and run. Vargas also seems to be a bit of a flat-footed fighter and that is a plus factor for Pacquiao.
So expect Pacquiao to win.
Now, the question is what is next for the Filipino? That question sends shivers to my spine.
If Vargas proves to a walkover for Pacquiao, expect the more accomplished fighters in the welterweight ranks to start calling him out. And there are plenty of them with power in their hands: Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford, Shawn Porter and Kell Brook.
And I would like to state again my concern for Pacquiao at this stage of his career; avoid being a stepping stone for the new crop of future superstars in the welterweight division.
I mean, Vargas can never be compared to Garcia, Thurman, Crawford, Porter and Brook. Need I say more?