By John Gatling aka Taz
It’s almost laughable. A large number of fans have greeted Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao’s Nov. You can charge your device using a rear-mounted usb port, and set twin alarms with all sorts of thoughtful user interface improvements. 5 return to challenge Jesse Vargas for yet another attempt at the WBO welterweight title, as some sort of boring afterthought. The nerve of these people. Vargas is not only the defending champion (courtesy of a brutal 9th round annihilation of Sadam Ali), but he’s a former WBA and IBO super lightweight champion, and one who nearly stopped Timothy Bradley in the 12th round at the StubHub Center in June 2015. Had the referee not mistaken the 10 second warning for the final bell — saving a badly hurt Bradley, it is conceivable that Vargas would’ve faced Pacquiao on April 9 in Las Vegas instead of Bradley. A former Floyd Mayweather protégé at TMT, Vargas looked better than ever under new trainer Dewey Cooper in his ruthless demo job on Ali. At 5’11, Vargas will tower above the legendary Pacquiao while owning a considerable reach advantage. He will also engage the near 38 year-old former eight division world champion as a much younger version of Antonio Margarito. In November 2010, Pacquiao- then widely considered the best fighter in the world, chopped up Margarito in a dazzling display of offense and movement. But he quietly took a lot of punishment in that bout. Vargas, at 27, has the look of a younger and deadlier Margarito who can bang in the trenches. This is a dangerous fight for Pacquiao, as Vargas isn’t drawing the respect of say, Terence Crawford. “Bud” could be the key to this card, and if Arum wants to salvage an otherwise iffy HBO PPV event, getting Crawford with perhaps Timothy Bradley– or even a ready-for-war Juan Manuel Marquez, seems almost critical. Crawford is missing a major name on his resume, and without it, the chances of a Pacquiao fight remains slim. Plus it would give Crawford the exposure he needs. But first, Pacquiao will have to deal Vargas a straight flush at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Because of what we can expect from Vargas on Nov 5 stylistically, this will probably be a fight similar in texture to his 6th round electrocution by lethal reflection in December 2012. Can Jesse Vargas “Marquez” Pac with a throwback Margarito style? Or, will Manny finally give us another classic stoppage? Vargas is just the right opponent to gauge the remaining greatness in Pacquiao, and fans will be grateful that Top Rank made this one.