There has been a cauldron of activity bubbling in Nevada not only because it is a hotly contested swing state in the 2016 U.S. elections; it’s also because it’s five days to go before Philippine boxing legend and Senator Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) coming out of retirement – goes up against World Boxing Organization (WBO) Welterweight Champion Jessie Vargas (27-1,10 KOs).
Joining a Pacquiao-headlined fight for the first time on at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas is Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) who will defend his WBO Super Bantamweight title against the undefeated Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs).
The fight – billed as The Legend vs The Champ -- will be shown on in KSA and in Dubai, live (with replays) via TFC.tv PPV subscription is at 80 SAR. The Legend vs. The Champ is also available via OSN, ELife and Mozaic TV Powered by Ooredoo. In the U.S., it will be shown on live, distributed by Top Rank PPV.
In a recent interview with Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman on First Take on ESPN, Top Rank Founder and CEO Bob Arum claimed that far from being an easy fight for Pacquiao, Vargas could end up knocking out the legendary Filipino fighter.
“Jessie Vargas has become a terrific fighter,” said Arum. “He has a trainer – Dewey Cooper – that has turned him from being a defensive fighter into an offensive force. And when he won the world title, he knocked out Sadam Ali who is a terrific fighter, who was a member of the U.S. Olympic team, and he (Vargas) knocked out Ali cold. Let me tell you something: the way Manny fights and the way Vargas fights, if Vargas hits him – which he is capable of doing – he could knock Pacquiao out. Remember, Vargas had Bradley out in the last round. The referee stopped the fight by mistake because he thought the 10th second was the bell.”
Arum also told ABS-CBN in another interview: “I think you will see, one way or another, a knockout in this fight. And it's a lot because Jessie will be fearless, and some people say reckless, and he will be going after Manny, to try and knock Manny out."
Vargas, who is 10 years younger than Pacquiao, said in an interview with ABS-CBN that “It’s my time to shine. I’m going for a knockout. The minute that he (Pacquiao) gives me that opening, I’m taking it. The 8th round sounds very, very good to me.”
Vargas almost knocking down Bradley in the 12th round of their controversial fight in June 2015. (Photo from ABS-CBN News)
The bold predictions don’t end with Vargas; Magdaleno also had daring words to say against Donaire in an ABS-CBN interview.
“He (Donaire) is past his prime. He will be strong for about five rounds. Then he will fade and we will take over,”Magdaleno claimed. Come fight night, Donaire will be 9 years older than his challenger. “Maybe I’ll be the real Flash come November 5th,” added Magdaleno.
"I'm proud of that fight (Donaire vs Magdaleno)," Arum added. "I think it's going to be a terrific fight. I think every one of these fights is going to be evenly matched, but I can see where people are saying that Donaire andMagdaleno will be a barn burner." Arum also noted that while Donaire is an experienced warrior, Magdaleno is “training like a beast”.
Of course, Pacquiao and Donaire are aware of all the macho boasting by their respective opponents.
Senator Manny Pacquiao continues to have the support of celebrity boxing aficionados like Sylvester Stallone and Mario Lopez. (From Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao’s Instagram)
In an interview with Michelle Joy Phelps of Behind The Gloves, a very relaxed Pacquiao said, “I know him (Vargas) well. He fought in my undercard before so, I know him. I know what I’m going to do in the ring.”
It is interesting to note that the only defeat of Vargas came in the hands of Timothy Bradley who Pacquaio has beaten twice, the last time in of this year. However, Bradley’s unanimous decision win over Vargas was questioned after what many people thought was the premature halting of the fight when Vargas almost putBradley out with a devastating punch in the dying seconds of the 12th round on June 27, 2015.
Meanwhile, Donaire is so confident against Magdaleno that he is already looking at career plans beyond which includes leaving the 122-pound super bantamweight class to return to featherweight category.
"The truth is that if I win on Boxing Scene., the next thing I want to do is going against Leo Santa Cruz or Carl Frampton. I'm a warrior and I want the big fights. Expect me in big fights at 126 pounds,” Donaire told
In the Middle East, for more information on The Legend vs The Champ, visit emea.kapamilya.com orfacebook.com/TFCMiddleEast or follow TFC Middle East on IG and Twitter @KapamilyaTFC.