Manny Pacquiao/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.
Promoter Bob Arum on Tuesday night told this newspaper in a telephone call from the Philippines that Manny Pacquiao has decided to fight welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on Nov. 5 from Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
A couple of other top candidates to land the role as Pacquiao’s opponent were junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford and welterweight champion Danny Garcia.
“I wasn’t hoping anything,” Arum said. “I presented all the options to Manny and after he discussed it he decided last night at dinner that that was the fight to make.”
Vargas is also promoted under Arum’s Top Rank Inc. banner.
This will be Pacquiao’s first fight since being elected to the Senate in May in his native Philippines. As it happened, Arum was on his way to attend a Senate session “to see him in action.”
Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) said after he defeated Timothy Bradley this past April that he was retired. But once he was elected rumors of at least one more fight started. At first, the date of his return was going to be Oct. 15. But Pacquiao, 37, was told by the president of the Senate he could not fight that soon because of his duties.
“We have tremendous logistical problems because of his being a senator, but we’re working through them and everything will be fine,” Arum said. “It’s going to be very, very interesting.”
Arum said this fight will not be on HBO pay-per-view.
“We’re going to be distributing it in other ways, but it will definitely not be distributed by HBO pay-per-view,” he said.
Pacquiao was asked by Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN TV newtork in the Philippines why he selected Vargas.
“I chose Vargas because he is a champion,” said Pacquiao, who intimated he can’t wait to get back in the ring.
“I miss my boxing routine of training, the things i do for my sport everyday,” he said. “But I assure my people my fight and training will not affect my work as a senator.”
Vargas, 27, of Las Vegas, is 27-1 with 10 knockouts.
BoxingScene.com first reported this news.