Manny Pacquiao (1/9) v. Jessie Vargas (7/1), Draw (25/1)
Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2) will face off against current WBO Welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1) on November 5 for the Welterweight title. It will be Vargas’ first title defence since he defeated Saddam Ali in a ninth round knockout.
Vargas, still in many ways an up-and-comer, has never fought someone of Pacquiao’s calibre. This will be, by a long shot, the biggest fight of his career so far.
Vargas only has 10 KOs in his career, but he is the bigger fighter and will be looking for a knockout. With an advantage in strength, size, and also age, Vargas has the potential to put Pacman away if the legend is caught in a moment of vulnerability.
In the other corner, Manny will, in all likelihood, try to stretch this fight into the later rounds, relying on his speed and skill to build up a lead on points. Pac-Man was known for power in his younger days, but his last eleven wins have been by decision; his last knockout win was way back in 2009. As he approaches 40 years old, Pacquiao relies more and more on his footwork, speed, and ability to stalk his opponents.
Pundits are predicting that Vargas will succumb to Pacquiao’s technical ability. At 37 years old, Manny has been able to stay in the game by revising his fighting style and adjusting to the changing sport. If Vargas is the future of boxing, then a Pacquiao win will send a strong message to his critics.
But despite the odds being heavily in Pacquiao’s favor, there are a few things that should give him pause. At 27 years old, Vargas is 10 years Pacquiao’s junior. He stands five inches taller than Manny and has a reach four inches longer.
Regardless of the outcome, the fight has potential to be a memorable one in a year that has been a little disappointing for boxing.
Pick: Manny Pacquiao (1/9) on decision
Photo credit: eric molina (flickr)