Tonight marks the return of one of the greatest of our generation. Manny Pacquiao ends his seven month retirement to return to the ring and challenge Jessie Vargas for Vargas’s WBO Welterweight title. With the fight, he attempts to become concurrently a standing senator and a world champion - a rare combination indeed. The fight is presented solely by Top Rank, as HBO opted not to air it and allowed Pacquiao out of his contract with them.
The rest of the PPV card features some well-known names. Former fighter of the year and world champion Nonito Donaire takes on Jessie Magdaleno. Top Rank’s big Chinese prospect, Olympian Zou Shiming gets a world title shot against Prasitsak Phaprom. And the exciting Oscar Valdez faces Hiroshige Osawa in what should be an entertaining beatdown if nothing else.
Pacquiao vs. Vargas airs live on PPV today Saturday, November 5 with a fight time of 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. For more on the card, check out our Bloody Elbow fight breakdown, and also follow our colleagues at Bad Left Hook.
Main Card (PPV, 9:00 p.m. ET)
Manny Pacquiao def. Jessie Vargas, UD (114-113, 118-109, 118-109)
Oscar Valdez def. Hiroshige Osawa, KO (R7, 1:50)
Jessie Magdaleno def. Nonito Donaire, UD (116-112, 116-112, 118-110)
Zou Shiming def. Prasitsak Phaprom, UD (120-107, 120-107, 119-108)
MANNY PACQUIAO VS. JESSIE VARGAS ROUND BY ROUND:
Round 1: Feeling out round, with both men trying things out and throwing minimal shots. Vargas seems to prefer letting Pac come to him and playing the counter-puncher. It works decently here, letting him connect on a few shots. Not much to call this on here. 10-9 Vargas
Round 2: The first 75% of the round was similar to the first, with minimal action. Then, as Vargas begins to commit more to the jab, Pacquiao perfectly times the straight left counter, coming right down the pipe and blasting Vargas for the knockdown. Vargas is up and fine, but Pac scores first blood. 10-8 Pacquiao
Round 3: Pacquiao with a lot of energy and a lot of movement this round, dancing all around Vargas. He’s getting in, landing, then getting out and forcing Vargas to whiff badly. On an exchange inside, Pac staggers him, and while Vargas landed some shots that had impact, they weren’t enough. 10-9 Pacquiao; 29-27 Pac after 3
Round 4: Things slowed just a bit this round, falling into a simple groove that could be the template for the entire fight. Pac controls overall, but late in the round, Vargas begins pushing the pace, landing some nice shots to wrap up the round. 10-9 Pacquiao
Round 5: Before the 5th, Vargas trainer Dewey Cooper fired his man up, and it worked. Vargas comes out more aggressive and confident, and the result is a lot of clean Vargas punches finding their home. Not sure if they affect Pacquiao much, but he’s landing them now. 10-9 Vargas
Round 6: This is a close fight, with neither man establishing clear dominance so far. Pacquiao’s movement has slowed a bit now, but he’s still able to get in and connect. Vargas has started to find a better home with his right, and manages to push Manny back once or twice. 10-9 Vargas, 57-56 Pac after 6
Round 7: Pacquiao comes out moving fast, using excellent angles to get inside and land quick hands on Vargas, befuddling him. Pacquiao is doing a great job getting past Vargas’s rangy jab, coming around the punch to get in and connect. 10-9 Pacquiao
Round 8: Great round. Vargas lands maybe his best punch of the night early, connecting with a hard right that staggers Pacquiao. He comes in aggressively, and Pac makes him pay for it with speed and accuracy. The last half of the round is all Pacquiao, who steals it back despite the tough shot. Clash of heads here leads to some blood on the bridge of Vargas’s nose. 10-9 Pacquiao
Round 9: Pacquiao’s best skill in the fight right now is his ability to angle his way out after landing a combo inside. It’s leaving Vargas lost, with no one in front of him to swing at. This round, Vargas looks slowed down and perhaps tired, as he doesn’t get much going. Also, the cut from last round has been ruled as caused by a punch. 10-9 Pacquiao, 87-83 Pac after 9
Round 10: On commentary, Timothy Bradley sums the state of this fight up well this round: “Pacquiao has figured him out.” He’s got the timing down now and can consistently get past the bigger man’s jab, connect on him, then make him miss the counter. He’s working hard, and he’s pulling further away every round. 10-9 Pacquiao
Round 11: Much of the same. Vargas certainly has not given up, but he does not seem to know what to do - his game plan has failed, and there’s no plan B. Interesting late round, as Pac lands a shot while their feet are tied up. Vargas’s gloves touch the ground, but it’s ruled a slip, much to the anger of the crowd. 10-9 Pacquiao
Round 12: Vargas continues to try, but Pacquiao keeps on landing just as he has done. They slow down a bit at the end, particularly Pacquiao, but he’s still landing. 10-9 Pacquiao.
BE’s final unofficial score: 117-110 Pacquiao