By Edward Chaykovsky
As previously reported, eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao has selected World Boxing Organization [WBO] welterweight champion Jessie Vargas as the preferred opponent of choice for November 5th at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Pacquiao announced his retirement in April after winning a twelve round unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley, and then won a senatorial seat in the Philippines the following month.
By June there were already whispers of a Pacquiao comeback in the fall.
Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 knockouts), 37-years-old, will be meeting with his promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, on August 10th to discuss the details of the November fight. Arum arrives in the Philippines on August 9th.
Originally the fight was targeted for a date in October at the MGM Grand, but Pacquiao's political duties created a conflict and the fight was moved.
Vargas (27-1, 10KOs) was always a frontrunner, but fans preferred a meeting between Pacquiao and WBO/WBC junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford.
Michael Koncz, the longtime adviser of Pacquiao, explained that Crawford's style was not to his liking.
“I don’t like Crawford’s style. I don’t believe it’s a style that suits Manny,” Koncz said to the Los Angeles Times. “His style [is the problem]! Leave it as his boxing style.”
“Retirement doesn’t suit Manny right now. Boxing is in his blood. When he trains, it’s like a pressure-release valve. You can see a dramatic difference in his mood … he’s happy. It’s amazing what training and fighting does for him.”
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, had ruled out a Crawford meeting in the fall. Roach worked the corner of Viktor Postol two weeks ago, as he was dominated over twelve rounds by Crawford - who used a lot of movement, a good jab and accurate punching to win - abilities which gave Pacquiao trouble against Floyd Mayweather Jr. last May.