By Edward Chaykovsky
As previously reported on BoxingScene.com, Manny Pacquiao confirmed that he will come out of retirement to fight World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on November 5 in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao announced his retirement following an April 9 victory over Timothy Bradley Jr. in their third fight so he could focus on his senate duties in the Philippines. The 37-year-old Pacquiao, also a senator in the Philippines, issued a statement to announce his comeback opponent.
"Yes, the fight is on," Pacquiao said in the statement. "Boxing is my passion. I miss what I'd been doing inside the gym and atop the ring."
Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs), who has won world titles in eight weight divisions, was widely expected to return to the ring at some point.
Pacquiao, who was elected to the Philippines senate in May, said he will spend the entire training camp in his home country so he can also attend to his legislative work.
"Boxing is my main source of income. I can't rely on my salary as public official," Pacquiao said. "I'm helping the family of my wife and my own family, as well. Many people also come to me to ask for help and I just couldn't ignore them."
HBO analyst Max Kellerman was shaking his head over Pacquiao's selection of Vargas, who is 27-1 with 10 knockouts. Kellerman believes Pacquiao is only fighting for the money at this point, and bases that opinion on the obvious rejection of an easy to make fight against WBO/WBC junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford (29-0, 20KOs), who Kellerman views as a much tougher opponent and a bigger money fight for pay-per-view.
“Terence Crawford is one of the best fighters in boxing and he's sitting right there waiting for a fight with Pacquiao. He’s a very dangerous fight. That's a 50-50 type of fight. I think most boxing insiders might even favor Crawford in that one. And that's a bigger money fight than a fight against Jessie Vargas. Vargas is a harder sell than Crawford. So if you’re coming back, and you’d rather fight the guy that’s harder to sell for the money for a pay-per-view fight than a guy that is easier to fight - what does that mean? It means you’re just doing it for money and you’re avoiding the bigger risk at this point," Kellerman said on ESPN's First Take.
"Vargas is a good dude, he's a broadcaster too. He's sometimes works for HBO and he's a real, genuine good dude. We had a fighter recently in the fighter meetings who said that he used to have nothing and how Jessie Vargas used to give him shoes, and the fighter's wife was there and started to cry because of how good of a dude Jessie Vargas is."
"He's a good, solid fighter. He’s not bad, and he's not a big puncher, and he's the kind of guy where if he beats Pacquiao, that means Pacquiao is washed as a top level fighter. So the fact that Pacquiao chooses to fight Vargas instead of Crawford, it can only say one thing at this point - which is he’s just fighting for the money. He’s fighting for kind of a money grab while avoiding the bigger money against the more dangerous opponent. It doesn’t say good things about where he is at the moment."
"Vargas is not a puncher. He was able to hurt Timothy Bradley and scored a knockout in his last fight. You see the 10 knockouts and he's just not a puncher in either of the weight classes where he's campaigned. Terence Crawford is not only a superior boxer but he can also bang if you come right at him."