By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Eight division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has set aside his previously announced retirement to fight WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas probably at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on November 5.
American Rick Staheli, who trained Pacquiao when he won his first title against WBC flyweight champion Chatchai Sasakul in December 1998 with a spectacular 8th round knockout, told BoxingScene.com/The Standard “Vargas is okay. His biggest claim was his rocking Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley in the last round when the referee stopped the fight ten seconds early but I don’t think he would have stopped Bradley” who ultimately won by a twelfth round decision.
Staheli told us “I think it’s a pretty easy fight for Manny. I think he wins the fight, picks up the WBO title and gets another trophy for his nice trophy room in his house. It’s a payday. For me I don’t mind this fight as long as it leads to fight in the spring with Floyd Mayweather Jr because I really think he should a healthy Manny should get one more fight with Mayweather. It will be a nice payday, a nice golden parachute and after that he can say ‘hey I’m done.”
Staheli added, “If this fight (against Vargas) leads to a Mayweather fight I’m all for it, although there is nothing certain about a Mayweather fight. But at the end of the day it’s a pretty safe fight. Vargas isn’t a big hitter. I don’t think he’s in Manny’s league and hopefully it will lead to one last fight with Mayweather in Las Vegas.”
Staheli said he would have “loved to see Manny fight Danny Garcia. I think he beats Danny all day long. Its something fresh and would have been a little bit different. But Bob always picks the home stable guy.”
According to one of his publicists Aquiles Zonio, Pacquiao made the announcement about the Vargas fight after a two hour meeting with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum at the Makati Shangrila Hotel in Makati in the presence of his wife Jinkee and longtime Canadian adviser Michael Koncz.
The press tour to hype the fight with Vargas will be held in Los Angeles from September 8-10.
Koncz described the meeting with Arum as “smooth and cordial” and would soon meet again for the formal contract signing although no mention was made of Pacquiao’s purse which is expected to be at least $20 million.
Pacquiao reiterated that he misses what he’s been doing “inside the gym and atop the ring” because boxing is his passion even as he assured fight fans that his training will not affect his work as a senator.
He made it clear that his entire training camp will be held in the Philippines so he could attend to his duties as a senator which was a campaign promise he intends to keep.
Pacquiao explained that he had to fight again to earn a living since boxing is his “main source of income and I can’t rely on my salary as a public official. I’m helping the family of my wife and my own family. There are also many people who come to me to ask for help and I just couldn’t ignore them."