Manny Pacquiao was fighting for the first time since being elected to the Philippines Senate earlier this year, and he made it count, winning the WBO welterweight title with a decision over Jessie Vargas at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
BLH scored it 117-110 for Pacquiao. Official judges scorecards were 114-113, 118-109, and 118-109. 114-113 came from Dave Moretti, and will be criticized harshly, as it is simply too close of a score.
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KO) improved to 2-0 on the year with the victory. The current hope is that he’ll face Terence Crawford next spring, should Crawford beat John Molina Jr as anticipated in December. There has been no talk of Pacquiao retiring, unlike many other recent fights.
Pacquiao landed 147 of 409 total punches, connecting at a rate of 36%. Vargas landed a paltry 19% of his punches, 104 of 562.
Vargas (27-2, 10 KO) didn’t fight poorly, he was just in against, you know, an all-time great fighter. And even though Pacquiao is faded — and he is, he looked like a good 37-year-old fighter tonight, but no longer great — he remains one of the best in the world. It was the speed of Pacquiao and the angles he could take that gave Vargas significant trouble, but Vargas landed some good shots in the fight, too, though he was unable to follow up on any of them.
Stephen A. Smith asked Pacquiao who he wanted to fight next, and he said he’d fight whomever the promoter gives him. When asked if he could move down to 140 to fight Terence Crawford, Pacquiao said that would not be a problem.