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Pacquiao eager to reclaim WBO welterweight title

/ 08:49 AM November 05, 2016
Boxer Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines speaks during a news conference at The Wynn Las Vegas on November 2, 2016. Pacquiao will challenge Jessie Vargas of the US for the WBO Welterweight Championship on November 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. / AFP PHOTO / John GURZINSKI

Boxer Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines speaks during a news conference at The Wynn Las Vegas on November 2, 2016. Pacquiao will challenge Jessie Vargas of the US for the WBO Welterweight Championship on November 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. / AFP PHOTO / John GURZINSKI

LAS VEGAS, United States – Manny Pacquiao announced his retirement seven months ago but after serving his first stint as a rookie senator, the fire was rekindled and the stage set for a return to boxing.

Pacquiao is hoping to reclaim the WBO welterweight title for the third time. But juggling two jobs, including his new gig as a full-time politician in the Philippine Senate, has cut into his training camp.

Pacquiao, who turns 38 next month, is going up against the younger WBO champ Jessie Vargas who has a height, reach and weight advantage.

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Pacquiao tipped the scales at 144.8 pounds (65.7 kilograms) in front of a crowd of about 900 at Friday’s weigh-in at the Encore Theater inside the Wynn Hotel. Vargas (27-1, 10 knockouts) weighed in at 146.5 pounds.

“I know I am the challenger going in and I have to fight that way,” Pacquiao said Friday. “It is not enough to do well, I have to take the title away from him.”

Pacquiao arrived first stripping off his black and gold track suit and stepping on the scale wearing his grey boxer shorts and trademark white tube socks.

“It want to make history. It would mean a lot for me to win this fight,” he said.

Pacquiao (58-6-2 with 38 KOs) still has a lot left and a seven-month hiatus can hardly be considered a retirement, but he’s not getting any younger and hasn’t had a knockout victory since 2009.

No fighter can go on forever. It remains to be seen if his part-time training routine and the wear of 66 professional fights finally brings him to a halt against Vargas, who is 10 years younger, five inches (13 centimeters) taller and has a four-inch reach advantage.

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TAGS: Boxing, Jessie Vargas, Manny Pacquiao, Philippines, USA, WBO, welterweight
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