Pac­quiao claims ti­tle on re­turn to the ring

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

MANNY PAC­QUIAO re­turned to the ring to score a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion over cham­pion Jessie Var­gas to claim the WBO wel­ter­weight ti­tle in Las Ve­gas.

For­mer eight-divi­sion world cham­pion Pac­quiao, 37, had an­nounced his re­tire­ment after beat­ing Ti­mothy Bradley in April.

The judges scored the bout 114-113, 118-109 and 118-109 in favour of the vet­eran Filipino.

His for­mer world ti­tle ri­val Floyd May­weather Jr had a ring­side seat.

“Not bad,” May­weather said, giv­ing Pac­quiao a thumbs up after the fight.

May­weather beat 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.”

Pac­quiao re­turned to what he called his “pas­sion” after quit­ting box­ing to win elec­tion to the se­nate in the Philip­pines.

De­spite giv­ing away 10 years to his op­po­nent, Pac­quiao fought with more in­ten­sity and en­ergy.

Pac­quiao pressed the fight from the open­ing bell, try­ing to score a knock­down. He looked as if he would when he caught Var­gas with a straight left that put him on the can­vas in the sec­ond, but Var­gas got up quickly.

Var­gas had dif­fi­culty deal­ing with Pac­quiao’s speed, but was more than will­ing to trade punches to try to lure him into a brawl.

He suc­ceeded in the eighth, but came off worse when he suf­fered a cut in an ac­ci­den­tal clash of heads. Pac­quiao in­creas­ingly dom­i­nated in the fi­nal rounds to close out an em­phatic vic­tory.

“I feel I could have done more but ev­ery round I tried to knock him out,” Pac­quiao said. — Su­perS­port

Manny Pac­quiao knocks down Jessie Var­gas dur­ing the sec­ond round of their fight on Satur­day

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