Pacquiao regains WBO welterweight title
Philippine Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao reclaimed the WBO welterweight title after defeating American boxer Jessie Vargas in a 12-round fight in Las Vegas on Sunday (Manila time).
In a unanimous decision, the three judges scored 114-113, 118-109 and 118-109 after he took control of the ring at the Thomas and Mack Center.
The 37-year old Filipino champion returned on the ring after he announced his retirement in April following his victory over Timothy Bradley.
In an interview, Pacquiao said he is happy with the result although he was not able to knock out Vargas.
"I feel happy. I'm trying every round to knock him down. That's why I'm always aggressive but not careless," he said.
"I was very careful going inside because he was going to counter me,” he added.
Pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather surprised the arena for his appearance in the Pacquiao-Vargas fight, prompting fresh talks of a possible rematch between him and the Filipino pugilist.
Mayweather beat Pacquiao in May 2015, considered as the richest fight in boxing history.
Asked of his plans after his latest victory, Pacquiao said he would go back to his work as a senator of the Philippines and will let his promoter plan for his next fight. He said he was ready to face "anybody."
On the other hand, Vargas said it was a close fight between him and Pacquiao claiming he was not hurt even after his knockdown on the second round.
“His speed surprised me at the beginning and that woke me up. It was a flash knockdown,” he said.
He added that it was a good shot and apologized to his fans for disappointing them.
“Fighting Pac only elevated my game and it makes me better," he said.
Pacquiao thanked Vargas, the Filipino people and God for his win.
The Filipinos, including Malacanang, congratulated Pacquiao for his victory.
"Once again, Manny’s triumph united and brought joy to our people and our nation. The discipline, the determination, and the hard work of our People’s Champ are truly what make him a National Treasure in Global Sports," Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.
However, another Filipino fighter, Nonito Donaire was overthrown by his opponent, Jessie Magdaleno via unanimous decision, losing his WBO super-bantamweight title.
While Donaire failed in his quest to be the "king in the ring," Andanar said this would not diminish the honors he bestowed to the people and to the flag.
"He (Donaire) remains 'The Filipino Flash' with his quick hand speed and formidable punching power," he said.
The Palace official said the courage and grit displayed by the two Filipino pugilists in Las Vegas are the same qualities that the rest of the Filipinos must demonstrate as a nation to rid society of drugs, criminality and corruption.
"Government has been successfully waging a war on these fronts and we as a people ? emulating our boxers’ toughness against all odds -- must continue the strong gains as we battle towards victory," he said.
The Duterte administration has declared an all-out war against illegal drugs. Ella Dionisio/DMS