By John J. Raspanti
In the opening round, both fighters tried to establish their jabs. Pacquiao bobbed and weaved—while Vargas looked to crack Pacquiao with right hands. Pacquiao connected with an uppercut at the bell.
Pacquiao,37, landed two left hands in the opening seconds of round two. Vargas connected with a left hook to the side. Pacquiao floored Vargas with a straight left to the chin.
Vargas got up at the count of three with a smile—and fired shots in return.
Pacquiao had his way with Vargas in round three. The now nine-time world champion connected with multiple combinations. Though ten years older, Pacquiao was the quicker man. Vargas fought back with a right hand at the bell.
Vargas tried to go to the body in rounds four and five. Pacquiao jumped inside with a left hook. Vargas surprised Pacquiao with a couple of straight right hands.
Pacquiao connected with a hard left down the pike. Vargas fought back with a combination. Pacquiao ducked a shot and landed a right—while Vargas connected with a few more right hands.
Vargas strafed Pacquiao with a hard right hand in round six. Pacquiao fought back with blows to the head. Vargas tried the body again, but Pacquiao nailed the younger man with a side hook.
Pacquiao picked up the pace in round seven. He connected with a big left hand that Vargas absorbed with a smile. Pacquiao kept up the volume—throwing shots from various angles. Vargas was looking to set-up his right hand, but Pacquiao was beating Vargas to the punch.
Vargas tried to jab in round eight. He connected with a right and left that seemed to bother Pacquiao.
The Senator from the Philippines fired back with hard blows to the head. Vargas caught Pacquiao with another right to the chin.
Both fighters traded stinging shots in round nine. Vargas was fighting as hard as he could, but it was Pacquiao who had more energy. Pacquiao went right and fired his left. The blow landed.
Pacquiao bombed Vargas with hard left hands in rounds 10 and 11. He wanted the knockout. He hasn’t been able to apply the coup de gras since stopping Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Vargas fought back, but Pacquiao was overwhelming him.
Vargas tried to land a Hail Mary shot in the last round. Pacquiao blocked the blows and fired back. A huge left from the floor bothered Vargas. Pacquiao bounced and fired more punches while Vargas swung (and missed) for the fences.
“I feel I could do more,” said Pacquiao in the ring. ”My aim in every round was knock him out.”
“I thought it was a good fight,” Vargas said. “It was a chess match.”