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Manny Pacquiao(Getty Images
When he announced in September that he would return to boxing, many thought Manny Pacquiao was biting off more than he could chew against Jessie Vargas. While training for this fight, he was also being a senator in his home country, the Philippines.
Pacquiao proved he can multitask well. He controlled Saturday’s fight throughout and defeated Vargas by unanimous decision (118-109, 118-109, 114-113) to win the WBO welterweight title at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Sporting News scored it 118-109 for Pacquiao.
When asked by Stephen A. Smith who he wanted to face next between Terrence Crawford and Floyd Mayweather (both were in attendance), Pacquiao was vague in his response.
The 37-year-old used his significant speed advantage and the correct angles to cut off the ring to give Vargas trouble. Vargas had some moments in the fight but he couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities.
Pacquiao (59-6-1) connected on 147 of 409 punches; Vargas (27-2) connected on 104 of 562 punches.
Here is how Pacquiao vs. Vargas happened:
1:03 a.m. ET: Round 12 to Pacquiao (10-9, 118-109). Pacquiao didn’t have to do much to win the round. He still fought hard for the entire round, even though he could have danced around the ring for the entire three minutes. What a performance by Pacquiao at age 37; he showed he is the best fighter at 147 pounds.
1 a.m.: Round 11 to Pacquiao (10-9, 108-100). Pacquiao come out and went right at Vargas with a jab that set the tone for the round. Vargas needs a miracle.
12:56 p.m.: Round 10 to Pacquiao (10-9, 98-91). Pacquiao kept on coming at Vargas, who has nothing left. Pacquiao started throwing the right hand to help set up the left hook. Vargas had no answer; he needs a prayer to win.
12:51: Round 9 to Pacquiao (10-9, 88-82). Pacquiao went back to the jab to keep Vargas at bay. Pacquiao kept the pressure on Vargas, going in the pocket and throwing combinations. Vargas is starting to tire out; that is due to the speed of Pacquiao.
12:47: Round 8 to Pacquiao (10-9, 78-73). The most exciting round of the fight. The fighters hit each other with vicious shots and were rocked, but Vargas was rocked more than Pacquiao, who landed more punches.
12:43: Round 7 to Pacquiao (10-9, 68-64). Pacquiao found the answer for Vargas’ right hand: a left jab. It kept Vargas from throwing it and allowed Pacquiao to control the round.
12:40: Round 6 to Vargas (10-9, 58-55). Vargas continues to use his right hand; that punch has taken over the fight. Pacquiao needs to find an answer for it quickly.
12:36: Round 5 to Pacquiao (10-9, 49-45). Vargas controlled the first half of the round, blasting Pacquiao with his right hand. Pacquiao controlled the second half of the round and landed the more efficient punches.
12:33: Round 4 to Vargas (10-9, 39-36). Vargas started to connect more often with the right hand and snapped Pacquiao’s head back on two occassions. He needs more rounds like that to get back into the fight.
12:27: Round 3 to Pacquiao (10-9, 30-26). Pacquiao continued what he was doing in the previous round. He’s using his speed to get quicker to the punch. He looks energized and is pushing the gas pedal earlier than usual. Vargas looks slow, especially with his left hand.
12:24: Round 2 to Pacquiao (10-8, 20-17). Early in the round, Pacquiao started to loosen up and connected on a combination. With about 30 seconds left in the round, Pacquiao blocked a jab and dropped Vargas with a straight left hand. Vargas got up at eight and survived the round
12:20: Round 1 to Pacquiao (10-9). Not much was done in the round. Pacquiao kept the pressure on Vargas and made him use his gas tank. Pacquiao found a home for his left hand and hit a hard left at the end of the round.
12:09: Jessie Vargas makes his way to the ring to a minimal reaction. Seems like the feeling among the crowd is this will be a cakewalk for Pacquiao. But that is why they fight.
12:07: Manny Pacquiao comes out first to a thunderous ovation in the Thomas & Mack Center.
11:58: Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas is next for Vargas’ WBO welterweight title. With all of his duties in the Phillippine Senate, can Pacquiao be sharp and win another world title? Or can Vargas shock the world and become a superstar in one night?
11:51: Oscar Valdez retains his WBO featherweight title, knocking out Hiroshige Osawa at 1:50 of the seventh round. Valdez looked sharp and was the more powerful fighter. Osawa did nothing to make Valdez sweat. It was a matter of time before he closed the show after he knocked down Osawa in the fourth round.
11:46: Floyd Mayweather just entered the building and sitting behind the broadcast team.
11:44: Jessie Vargas in a backstage interview said he feels great, ready to go and is in the best shape of his life.
11:34: In the fourth round, Valdez landed a beautiful left hook to drop Osawa. Valdez tried to close the show and threw everything including the kitchen sink but Osawa survived the round.
11:16: In the co-main of Pacquiao vs. Vargas, Oscar Valdez (20-0, 18 KOs) defends his WBO featherweight title against Hiroshige Osawa (30-3-4, 19 KOs).
11:05: Jesse Magdaleno unseats Nonito Donaire to win by unanimous decision (118-110, 116-112, 116-112) to win the WBO junior flyweight title. Donaire was winning through five rounds and Magdaleno went to work. He was sharp, crisp, powerful and dominated the rest of the fight. The young lion was hungrier than the older lion and it showed later in the championship rounds. Magdaleno connected on 154 of 500 punches while Donaire was 132 of 404.
10:32: Going into the fifth round, Magdaleno has a nasy gash at the corner of his left eyebrow. So far, the fight is all Donaire as he is keeping constant pressure on Magdaleno and popping the jab to keep Magdaleno at bay.
10:17: In the second fight of the main card of Pacquiao vs. Vargas, Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) defends his WBO junior flyweight title against Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs). Donaire is a four-division world champion and was the 2012 fighter of the year. In Donaire’s corner was former WWE world champion, Dave Bautista.
10:06: Zou Shiming defeated Prasitsak Papoem by unanimous decision (120-107, 120-107, 119-108) to captire the WBO flyweight title. A dominating performance by Shiming as he controlled the fight throughout. Papoem didn’t have an answer for the speed of Shiming. I agree with Smith in wondering how Papoem threw 503 punches when he was hardly active in the fight and was more of punching for Shiming.
9:55: Looking at Papoem, he could pass as a younger looking Pacquiao.
9:22: In the second round, Shiming threw a short uppercut and a right hook that had Papoem’s gloves touch the canvas which is ruled a knockdown in boxing.
9:15: Very interested to hear the broadcasting team of Brian Kenny, Tim Bradley and Stephen A. Smith. Intrigued to hear Smith, who is a lifelong boxing fan but never has broadcasted a fight.
9:13: Lot of wrinkles on the face of Michael Buffer. Amazing he has been around for so long and ring announced the majority of the biggest fights in boxing on the last 25 years. Can easily see Buffer being around for another ten years.
9:12: To kickoff the pay-per-view card of Pacquiao vs. Vargas, Zou Shiming (8-1, 2 KOs) faces Prasitsak Papoem (39-1-2, 24 KOs) for the vacant WBO flyweight world title.
8:50: Hello, my name is Steven Muehlhausen at SportingNews.com. Tonight is finally upon us with the much anticipated fight between eight-division world Manny Pacquiao as he fights WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas. I will be providing with live coverage of the fight. Grab your drinks and food, and buckle up and enjoy our Pacquiao vs. Vargas coverage.