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Manny Pacquiao beats Jessie Vargas on points after dramatic return to ring

Filipino star Manny Pacquiao reclaimed the World Boxing Organization welterweight title for the third time with a unanimous decision victory over former champion Jesse Vargas in his comeback fight on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Pacquiao, who announced his retirement seven months ago, knocked Vargas down in the second round en route to a decisive victory at the Thomas & Mack Center arena.

All three judges scored the bout in Pacquiao's favor, two scoring it 118-109 and the third having Pacquiao winning 114-113.

Manny Pacquiao Beats Jessie Vargas: Live Results And Reaction (VIDEO)

After a short-lived retirement, Manny Pacquiao returned to the ring Saturday night and looked scintillating, winning a unanimous decision against Jessie Vargas. Pacquiao won by scores of 114-113, 118-109, and 118-109 to take Vargas’ welterweight title.

POSTFIGHT: Floyd Mayweather watched Pacquiao beat up Vargas. But did Pacquiao do enough to lure Mayweather out of retirement for a fight that would, once again, earn hundreds of millions of dollars? It’s unclear (and quite honestly, it seems unlikely that Pacquiao actually has enough to beat Mayweather). But Pacquiao probably could land a fight with Terence Crawford, who also watched from ringside.

So, who does Pacquiao want?

“I don’t know,” Pacquiao told Top Rank’s Stephen A. Smith after the fight. “Whoever the people want me to fight, I’m OK with that. … Anybody at 147.”

What about dropping down to 140 pounds to fight Crawford at the junior welterweight division? “That’s not a problem,” Pacquiao said.

12th round: It’s kind of funny that Timothy Bradley, who’s done a nice job as a color commentator for Top Rank, says that Vargas needs a miracle and that he should land the straight right hand. You know, the one that nearly knocked out Bradley when Vargas needed a miracle in their fight. Anyway, Vargas is taking potshots from Pacquiao. He’s still trying to land and he does touch Pacquiao every once in a while. But it’s not nearly enough. 

Overall: Pacquiao 117-110.

11th round: And what does Mayweather think of this fight so far?

Well, regardless of that shoulder shrug, Pacquiao looks good, and he’s still got plenty of energy in this round. With a minute to go, Pacquaio looked in Mayweather’s direction and smiled.

Overall: Pacquiao 107-101

10th round: Pacquiao still landing good combinations, jumping in and out of Vargas’ space. Vargas looks to be slowing down. He’s taking too many shots, and Pacquiao keeps pounding him. Midway through the round, Pacquiao lands another combination, and Vargas smiles again. But it’s not the confident smile from before during his ringwalk. This smile seems to say, “I thought I had a secret, but the joke was actually on me.”


Overall: Pacquiao 97-92.

9th round: Vargas’ cornermen tells him after the eighth round that they don’t want him to get into a street fight. Play-by-play announcer Brian Kenny says the state athletic commission has ruled the Vargas cut was caused by a punch. So, if the fight is stopped because of that cut, Pacquiao wins by TKO. Vargas continues to lean on Pacquiao when they get tied up, but Pacquiao doesn’t appear to feel the effects of it thus far. Vargas is actually doing good work in these rounds, but he’s not winning them. 

Overall: Pacquiao 87-83

8th round: The fans who are scoring the fight on Top Rank’s Twitter account have Pacquiao overwhelmingly in front in this fight (those fans have given Vargas exactly one round). It seems much closer than that. Again, Bayless warns Vargas for hitting Pacquiao on the hip. A few seconds later, Vargas nails Pacquiao with a right and he bangs his gloves together so he can deliver more punishment. But Pacquiao fires back and lands. Vargas gets cut after what looks like a head clash. Close round, but Pacquiao narrowly takes it. This was probably the most exciting round of the fight. 

Overall: Pacquiao 77-74

7th round: Pacquiao landed a number of jabs in the first half of the round, and he seems to have gotten back on track offensively. Which is something we’ve been missing the last couple of rounds. For the second time in the fight, referee Kenny Bayless warns Vargas about hitting below the belt. 

Overall: Pacquiao 67-65

6th round: A hard right hand about a minute in briefly stops Pacquiao from moving forward. You know, every round Vargas is landing two or three solid right hands to Pacquiao’s head. Pacquiao hasn’t been hurt, but you wonder if Vargas eventually will get him with something that will. Pacquiao didn’t do much on offense in this round. 

Overall: Pacquiao 57-56

5th round: According to the ringside reporters, the announced attendance is 16,132. And every single one of them is watching Pacquiao have a solid performance. Vargas landed a couple of nice right hands, and then Pacquiao comes back at him as the two tie up. Close round. 

Overall: Pacquiao 48-46

4th round: Honestly, Vargas still looks nervous. But midway through the round, he lands a straight right that might have been his best punch of the night. Pacquiao had no problem taking it. Still, Pacquiao’s movement still seems to be confusing Vargas. 

Overall: Pacquiao 39-36

3rd round: Pacquiao continues to throw combinations, and he’s landing them on Vargas, who’s taking the shots well. But so far, we’re looking at shades of a prime Pacquiao. Well, maybe not a prime Pacquiao. But a pretty good copy of it.

Overall: Pacquiao 29-27

2nd round: Pacquiao is closing the distance to Vargas, but so far, he hasn’t landed much of anything clean. Vargas landed a couple of body shots and a nice left to the head with less than a minute to go. And then Pacquiao puts Vargas down with a short left hand. Vargas looks fine and finished the round. 

Overall: Pacquiao 19-18

1st round: Vargas was so ready to fight, he approached Pacquiao before the bell rang. Referee Kenny Bayless had to shoo him back to his corner. There wasn’t much action in this round, but Vargas was effective at keeping Pacquiao on the outside with his jab.

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