Manny Pacquiao def. Jessie Vargas, UD (114-113, 118-109, 118-109)
There were plenty of reasons to think we might see a lesser version of Manny Pacquiao here - chief among them being the demands of his new primary job as senator. But much as we saw in his last fight against Timothy Bradley, what we saw tonight was not a lesser fighter, but a fantastic Pacquiao who remains one of the pound for pound best in the world.
Throughout the fight, Pacquiao was clearly too fast for Vargas. He expertly used angles to defeat the size and reach advantage of Vargas, getting inside his long jab, landing combinations, and exiting at an angle to avoid Vargas’s planned counter-punching. There were Vargas successes early, but as the fight continued, Pacquiao figured him out. From there, he never let his foot off the gas, never let Vargas back in the fight, and dominated the second half.
The biggest drama in the fight came early when Pacquiao landed a perfect counter left to drop Vargas in the second. Interestingly, that knockdown meant the difference between a unanimous decision and majority decision, as one very poor card from judge Dave Moretti had it 6 rounds each.
Post-fight, Pacquiao was asked what was next. While he made it clear that there will be another fight, he refused to discuss any possible opponents. He was pushed on it, with both Terence Crawford and Floyd Mayweather brought up (both were in attendance), but still, Pacquiao left things wide open.
In the end, Manny Pacquiao is still a great fighter, and now he’s a world champion once again, earning it in a great performance. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess.