The rumor mill regarding the next fight for Manny Pacquiao can end and move on to something else: His next opponent will be Jessie Vargas, the WBO Welterweight champion, who will make his first defense facing the WBO International and lineal welterweight champion.
After beating Timothy Bradley for a second time in April, Pacquiao announced his retirement, wanting to spend his time “serving the people” and focusing on his role as a Senator in the Philippines. However, it seems that the appeal of getting in the ring, and obviously the money to be made from it, was too great to turn down, and so the focus shifted towards his next opponent, and where the fight will be held. It’s scheduled for November 11, to be held at the Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao’s last two fights were held at the MGM Grand.
Vargas, 27, is 27-1 through 28 fights with 10 knockouts. He lost for the first time in his career on June 2015, beaten by Timothy Bradley by unanimous decision. He’s held titles at Super Lightweight before his loss to Bradley. After being beaten by Bradley, he fought Sadam Ali in March, beating him with a 9th round TKO, his first knockout victory since 2011. The fight was for the vacant WBO welterweight belt. Pacquiao, who is 58-6-2, hasn’t won by knockout since 2009. He was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.
The other name that was part of the rumor mill is Terence Crawford, who recently, undefeated through 29 fights and with 20 knockouts. He is the current unified WBC, WBO, Ring magazine and lineal light welterweight champion, beating Viktor Postol two weeks ago to put himself among the top in the profession. However, Crawford has said he’s eyeing a fight with Pacquiao at light welterweight, and maybe that has prevented the bigger, more appealing fight from happening, but this doesn’t mean the fight won’t happen in the future.
With Pacquiao returning to the ring, be sure that we’ll hear from Floyd Mayweather soon. He’s also in retirement, but that’s never permanent with him. One thing is easy to predict: Whenever there’s a big PPV fight coming up, Mayweather has to place himself in the spotlight as well and trash the fighters who deserve the current attention. The question is when he’ll start his media blitz, and not if. But Mayweather can be surprising with his choices, so who knows?