Former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao returned to the ring to reclaim the World Boxing Organization welterweight title for the third time with a unanimous decision victory over former champion Jesse Vargas on Saturday, November 5, 2016.
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The Filipino southpaw, who had announced his retirement after beating Timothy Bradley in April, humbled the former welterweight champion despite Vargas’ size and reach advantage.
He used a short right-handed counterpunch to floor Vargas in the second round en route to a one-sided win in front of a crowd of 16,132 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“I feel happy,” Pacquiao said, adding that: “I’m trying every round to knock him down but also not be careless.”
Pacquiao, 59-6 with two drawn and 38 knockouts, showed he still has a lot left in the tank but he failed to get the knockout victory that has eluded him for the past seven years.
Three judges scored the bout for Pacquiao, two of them by 118-109 and the other by 114-113.
His former world title rival Floyd Mayweather Jr had a front row seat during yesterday’s bout.
“Not bad,” Mayweather said, giving Pacquiao a thumbs up after the fight.
Mayweather defeated Pacquiao to become the undisputed welterweight champion in May 2015 in what was billed as “the fight of the century”.
“I invited him to be here tonight,” Pacquiao said. When asked if the two could meet again, he replied: “We’ll see.”