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Pacquiao returns from short-lived retirement to challenge for Vargas’ crown

Lee Gormley | 5 November 2016

Manny Pacquiao v Jessie Vargas

  • WBO welterweight title fight
  • Sunday, November 6th
  • Scheduled for: 04:30 GMT
  • Thomas & Mack Center, Nevada
  • Live on BoxNation

Pacquiao v Vargas tips as ‘Pacman’ returns

Eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao makes his return this weekend to challenge Jessie Vargas for his WBO welterweight title in Nevada, following a short-lived retirement from the sport earlier in the year.

Pacquiao initially announced his retirement from the sport after beating Bradley again.

Pacquiao initially announced his retirement from the sport after beating Bradley again.

The legendary Filipino fighter initially announced he was hanging up his gloves after impressively outpointing three-time opponent Timothy Bradley in April, with that having been his first outing since losing the high-profile showdown with Floyd Mayweather in May 2015.

Just seven months on from that lopsided decision success over Bradley, Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) will take to the ring to contest reigning WBO title holder Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) after earlier announcing he had regained his passion for boxing during that short time away.

‘Pacman’ looked back to his clinical best against Bradley despite not gaining the knockout, but the returning 10-time world champion will enter proceedings at 9/4 with Coral to stop Vargas inside the distance at the Thomas & Mack Center.

‘Pacman’ relishing ring return

Following Pacquiao’s comprehensive loss to Mayweather 18 months ago and his election to the Senate in the Philippines earlier this year, there were many doubts hanging over his hunger for returning to action.

Odds for a 'Pacman' knockout look promising as part of our Pacquiao v Vargas tips.

Odds for a ‘Pacman’ knockout look promising as part of our Pacquiao v Vargas tips.

Though, the now 37-year-old, who is odds-on 8/13 to earn another decision success in the early hours of Sunday morning, is hellbent on proving he still belongs at the top of the sport.

“I want to prove that I am still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters,” declared Pacquiao. “I feel I still have a lot to prove. I am not done with boxing. I will continue to keep fighting as long as I love boxing and boxing still loves me. I do not feel old. I feel like I am still 27.”

The man previously voted ‘Fighter of the Decade’ will be taking to the ring for the 66th time in his professional career, which started way back in 1995. Despite some time away to focus on politics, the Filipino southpaw is seen as the heavy favourite and is 11/2 to halt Vargas within rounds 7-9 in his comeback bout.

Vargas no pushover for Pacquiao

In spite of Vargas entering the contest as defending champion, the Los Angeles-born titlist is a massive 5/1 outsider to secure a successful maiden defence of his crown which he won by downing Sadam Ali in nine rounds last March.

Vargas will aim to cause an upset and make a successful maiden title defence. Who are you backing from our Pacquiao v Vargas tips?

Vargas will aim to cause an upset and make a successful maiden title defence. Who are you backing from our Pacquiao v Vargas tips?

The 27-year-old’s last victory saw him bounce back from a first career defeat at the hands of Pacquiao’s trilogy foe Bradley, having been outpointed by the American in June last year. He is confident of causing an upset, though, and enters at 7/1 to edge a points triumph.

“I’m the champion, he’s the challenger and it is Pacquiao who has to prove himself,” stated the WBO belt holder. “We’re ready, we can’t be any more ready than this,” Vargas said in a press conference ahead of their bout.

“In order to be known as the best, you have to beat the best. Everybody likes an upset, and I am the underdog.”

Pacquiao has come under criticism for lacking his former ferocious power, having not stopped an opponent since Miguel Cotto in 2009. Having outlined intentions of returning to the sport’s summit, as well as aiming towards a Mayweather rematch, ‘Pacman’ will be keen to return strongly against an equally as determined Vargas.

Donaire and Valdez star on undercard

The undercard in Nevada will see both WBO super-bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire and the same organisation’s featherweight kingpin Oscar Valdez feature.

"Filipino Flash" Donaire will feature on the undercard alongside compatriot Pacquiao.

“Filipino Flash” Donaire will feature on the undercard alongside compatriot Pacquiao.

This will mark the first time that Pacquiao and Donaire, the two biggest boxing stars to come out of the Philippines, have ever shared the same card. The latter 33-year-old is odds-on 2/5 to oust Jessie Magdaleno, though his Las Vegas native foe enters at 2/1 to prevail.

Undefeated Mexican Valdez is an overwhelming 1/66 front runner for success over Japan’s Hiroshige Osawa, in his first title defence since winning the strap in July. He is 14/1 to face a stunning upset in Nevada.

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