Filipino boxing legend and Senator Manny Pacquiao defeated Jessie Vargas by using his dazzling speed to the hilt to bag the WBO welterweight belt in a lopsided fight at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas last Saturday night (Nov. 5).
The much younger Vargas, 27 years old, was knocked down in the second round by a wicked left to the jaw, and in the succeeding rounds he absorbed more stinging punches. In the ninth round, his face was bloodied as he suffered a cut in the right eyebrow.
Since the second round, Pacquiao had been on the offensive most of the time and had not shown any sign that he had slowed down as a result of his brief retirement from the ring.
In the post-fight interview, the 37-year-old Pacquiao said he wanted to knock out the champion but he did not want to be careless in his comeback fight dubbed “The Legend Vs The Champion.”
Most of the rounds were dominated by the boxing icon, but one of the judges, Dave Moretti, scored it close at 114-113 for Pacquiao.
Judges Glenn Trowbridge and Glenn Feldman gave the now three-time WBO champion identical 118-109 scores. The Filipino Star News also scored it 118-109 for Pacquiao with Vargas winning only two rounds.
Pacquiao’s win became a vindication of sorts after Filipino Nonito Donaire lost his WBO junior featherweight belt to Jessie Magdaleno in the undercard. Donaire appeared sluggish and was just waiting for a chance to deliver a haymaker punch.
Despite a gallant stand by Donaire late in the match, the judges still gave Magdaleno scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110 as the latter stayed unbeaten after 24 fights.
The other title matches had Oscar Valdez knocking out Hiroshige Ogawa at the 1:50 mark of Round 7 for the WBO featherweight belt, and Zou Shiming claiming the then vacant WBO flyweight title with a dominating unanimous decision victory over Thai Prasitsak Phaprom.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao received praises from his fellow senators for snatching the WBO World welterweight title from Vargas.
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said that he joins the country in celebrating what he described as a “glorious triumph” of his friend and colleague.
“Once again, he showcased to the whole world the Filipino’s heart and determination that with faith in God coupled with right focus and discipline, no battle is insurmountable no matter how difficult and extremely unbearable they may be,” Angara said.
Angara further said that Pacquiao’s win over the much younger Vargas should be cherished and celebrated by all Filipinos especially as the boxer-senator has already brought “so much international honor and respect to the country.”
Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said that he found it difficult to watch the bout especially since it was his friend in the boxing ring.
He also said that he admired Pacquiao for having been able to balance boxing training and working as a senator and that he had “nothing more to prove.”
“Congrats to Manny! I am particularly impressed by how you did not neglect your work as Senator. You were able to train for this fight,” Ejercito said.
Senator Nancy Binay said that despite all the advantages that the younger Vargas had over him, Pacquiao had “again proved all his detractors wrong.”
Binay said that she has personally seen how her colleague worked in the Senate and how dedicated he was to serve our country.
“I believe that this is the same fire that fuels him in boxing and it is very much alive. Manny proved that he can still fight, he can still win,” Binay said.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III described Pacquiao’s success as a product of discipline, hard work and development of his skills and God-given talents.
He further said that the People’s Champ always gave his “all” whether in the session hall of the Senate and in the boxing ring. (With PNA report)