Manny Pacquiao beats Jessie Vargas in return to boxing

© Ethan Miller
Manny Pacquiao looked to be back at his scintillating best upon his return to boxing on Saturday night, beating Jessie Vargas by unanimous decision in Las Vegas.

The distinguished Filipino boxer hung up his gloves following a victory over Tim Bradley back in April, but reversed his decision after a couple of months away from the ring.

Vargas entered the clash as the WBO Welterweight champion and boasted an impressive record, but Pacquiao was too quick and strong for the American.

The 37-year-old claimed victory by unanimous decision, 114-113, 118-109, 118-109, with his professional record now at 59 wins, 6 defeats and 2 draws.

Both fighters started cautiously in the early exchanges, but Pacquiao took the bout to his opponent in the second round, knocking Vargas to the canvas with an explosive straight left.

The Filipino tried to finish the fight in the subsequent rounds, but Vargas, to his credit, held on and remained in the contest.

There were brief spells when the American looked to be gaining the advantage, but Pacquiao’s combinations and punching power saw the veteran winning the clash comfortably in the end.

Pacquiao’s left hook was devastating all night, and Vargas struggled to live with the South East Asian’s quick feet and energy.

The crowd chanted his name during the final rounds of the fight, making it clear that the decorated fighter is still popular with the American audience.

The judges marked the fight in overwhelming favor of Pacquiao, who looked close to his best in the clash and will clearly be a tough future opponent despite his age.

“My aim every round was to knock him out – I feel happy,” the victor said after his win.

The Filipino could not be cajoled into revealing who his next fight will be, with growing calls for a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Pacquiao assumes the WBO welterweight title and could also potentially face Terrence Crawford at 140 pounds in the new year.

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