By Miguel Rivera
WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10KOs) is the frontrunner to land an HBO Pay-Per-View opportunity against Manny Pacquiao in the fall.
Their mutual promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, has flown over to the Philippines to sit down with Pacquiao and discuss his expected ring return on November 5th at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Vargas captured the WBO title earlier this when he knocked out Sadam Ali. He's been sitting back and waiting for the Pacquiao negotiations to play out.
The other candidate in the running is WBC/WBO junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford. Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz, and trainer Freddie Roach, are not in favor of facing Crawford in the fall.
Vargas is already committed to the fight. He only needs confirmation that Pacquiao is on board and Arum is going to work that out on Tuesday when he meets with the boxer and Koncz.
"Ever since my childhood, when Erik Morales lost to Manny Pacquiao, I said 'I'll fight him. I'm going to win and I will knock him out' - and now we are so close that opportunity I feel very fortunate. The road has not been easy to get here," Vargas said to Erika Montoya.
"After everything that happened with (Timothy) Bradley and then with (Kell) Brook, thank God there are still very important opportunities and possibilities for me. Everything is going very well."
"I am a champion now. It is a great honor to fight [Pacquiao], but it's also something I'm looking for because I'm coming in with the desire for a statement, to say I am here with the mentality to knock my opponent out, to not let anyone steal anything from me and show everything I'm capable of. I want to show I'm the best in my division and I want to be a champion for a while."