Manny Pacquiao: WBO Champ Once Again

Manny Pacquiao looked like he hadn’t lost a step.

Pacquiao won over the fans and the judges on Saturday night to defeat Jesse Vargas to win the WBO welterweight championship. Many, including two of the judges, felt Pacquiao won all but one of the rounds; however, one judge scored the bout way closer.

There wasn’t much action going on in the first round, though Pacquiao landed a few shots, enough to take the round. In round two, however, Pacquiao showed he hadn’t lost much if anything at all, as Vargas was knocked down. Vargas did get back up quickly, but it was enough to give Pacquiao the round.

Pacquiao seemed to loosen up by the fourth round, and Vargas did enough to take that round unanimously, but it would be the only round he would win that way. Swelling developed around one of Vargas’ eyes in the sixth, and it worsened from there, with a cut coming in the eighth and eventually he had trouble seeing out of it late in the fight. There was just nothing Vargas could do at that point, and Pacquiao took the bout and WBO title by unanimous decision — 114-113, 118-109, 118-109.

"I feel happy! I was very careful to go inside. He is a great counter puncher," Pacquiao said following the fight.

Vargas, while he gave his congrats to the champ, sided with the first judge in feeling that the fight was closer than it appeared.

"I think it was a very close fight," Vargas said. It was a chess match. We were on our toes! His speed surprised me at start.

"We done a good job, I’ll come back stronger in the next fight."

When asked about what’s next, Pacquiao said he would head back to the Philippines for Senate. For his next opponent, however, it all comes down to who the fans and promoter Bob Arum want him to fight.

"I don’t know, I’ll fight whoever the people and my promoter want me to fight — anybody at 147," he said.

There were three other title bouts on the undercard. Oscar Valdez defeated Hirsoshige Osawa via seventh-round TKO to retain the WBO featherweight championship. Jessie Magdaleno became the new WBO super bantamweight champion by defeating Nonito Donaire via unanimous decision (116-112, 116-112, 118-110). Zou Shiming gained the vacant WBO flyweight title by picking up a unanimous decision win over Prasitsak Phaprom (120-107, 120-107, 119-108).

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