Manny Pacquiao beats Jessie Vargas to become a titleholder again
Manny Pacquiao is 37 and doesn’t throw as many punches as he once did but he can still bring it.
Pacquiao defeated Jessie Vargas by a unanimous decision to take Vargas’ WBO welterweight title Saturday night at Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 knockouts) didn’t outclass Vargas (27-2, 10 KOs) but he clearly landed more punches than he took, as the punch statistics indicate. Pacquiao threw only 409 shots but landed 147 (36 percent). Vargas landed only 104 of his 562 punches (19 percent), an indication of how difficult Pacquiao was to hit cleanly.
Two judges saw a onesided fight, scoring it 118-109 (or 10-2 in rounds) for Pacquiao. The third, Dave Moretti, somehow scored it 114-113 for Pacquiao. That means he gave six rounds to Vargas, who went down in the second round from a left hand.
Vargas was competitive early in the fight, occasionally landing the hard right for which he is known. However, by mid-fight an energized Pacquiao had taken control and won going away (if you don’t count Moretti’s curious card).
Pacquiao hadn’t held a world title since May 2 of last year, when Floyd Mayweather Jr. took his WBO belt. Mayweather gave up the title upon his retirement, after which Vargas won it but stopping Sadam Ali.
A full report will follow shortly.