Abandon ship, all ye hoping that Terence Crawford was still in the running. The previously-announced, sort-of-rumored clash between Manny Pacquiao and WBO Welterweight Champion Jessie Vargas is now official for November 5th in Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Center.
In his own words:
Pacquiao said he picked Vargas "because he is a champion." Crawford would have insisted that Pacquiao drop down to junior welterweight.
Vargas (27-1, 10 KO) is a legitimately elite welterweight who gave Tim Bradley a tough go and knocked out the very skilled Sadam Ali last time out, but he has neither the style nor the fan following to make this an interesting matchup. I’d imagine very few people besides Vargas’ nuclear family and some very drunk Top Rank executives have ever said to themselves, "Damn, I wish Manny Pacquiao would fight Jessie Vargas instead of. That would be kickass."
It’s not like he wouldn’t be a good win for Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KO), who’s a decade older than The Man Apparently Known as "Ruthless." There’s just no draw to this fight besides "let’s watch Manny Pacquiao fight a guy who's pretty good."
One slight red flag from the announcement comes from Pacquiao himself:
Pacquiao also conceded that his ring return is financially motivated, even though he has earned hundreds of millions in his career, including around $150 million alone for his decision loss to Floyd Mayweather in their record-shattering welterweight title unification fight in May 2015.
Those senatorial skills ain’t payin’ the bills, apparently.
Early guesses for the undercard? I’m thinking they bust out the Oscar Valdez/Gilberto Ramirez combo again.