Manny Pacquiao won the WBO welterweight title on Saturday night, taking the belt from Jessie Vargas.
USA TODAY Sports
LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao, now a senator in the Philippines, made a triumphant return to boxing Saturday, outclassing WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas in a 12-round title bout at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV.
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) won by scores of 114-113 and 118-109 twice, retaking a belt he used to own. USA TODAY Sports scored it 117-110 for Pacquiao.
The 27-year old Vargas (27-2, 10 KOs), a decade younger than his opponent, won the vacant WBO title in April when he knocked out Sadam Ali in Washington.
With Floyd Mayweather sitting at Ringside, Pacquiao put on the type of show he was unable to put on against Mayweather in 2015. A raucous pro Pacquiao crowd of 16,132 at The Thomas and Mack Center chanted “Man-ny, Man-ny” almost every round.
Here is how the rounds unfolded:
Boxers are fighting in the center of the ring, Pacquiao decked out in black trunks with gold trim, Vargas wearing red with gold trim. Crowd chanting for Manny. A lot of feinting by both fighters but few punches thrown. Vargas jabbing with that stiff jab that Timothy Bradley talked about. Swings and misses by both fighters. A right by Vargas followed by more jabbing. Manny ties up Vargas. There was more action in the last 10 seconds than most of the rest of the round. Vargas is more active and I give him the round.
Pacquiao using his still spectacular footwork, but Vargas presses the action. Both fighters remain cautious. Pacquiao misses with a left. So much for early action. Vargas misses with a right, and Pac counters with a left. A sudden, straight left hand by Pacquiao drops Vargas. Wow, a lightning quick punch that lands right on the button. A 10-8 round for Pacquiao.
Vargas presses the action but Pac returns a flurry. The action is staying in…