Manny Pacquiao had little trouble seeing off Jessie Vargas to claim the WBO welterweight title at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday. Pacquiao claimed a unanimous points decision to win a fight set to net him a minimum of $4 million, per Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports.
The 37-year-old is also due a percentage share of the pay-per-view profits on top of his guaranteed money. As for Vargas, the vanquished champion still pocketed a guaranteed $2.8 million from the night, according to ESPN.com's Dan Rafael.
Prior to the fight, Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum had told Bev Llorente of ABS-CBN North America News Bureau how Pacquiao would earn less than usual from this fight because of the way his percentage deal was structured: "No, he is not earning $20 million. He is earning a lot less because…he is fighting largely on percentage. So hopefully the Filipinos, the Mexicans fight fans support the fight so he can make $20 million or more."
The percentage may not be as much as Arum and Pacquiao hope, though. Top Rank put out the fight on their own pay-per-view network after Arum confirmed HBO and Showtime opted against carrying the bout, per Ryan Songalia of Rappler.
In the ring, Pacquiao controlled the fight from start to finish, steadily wearing Vargas down with a flurry of shots and combinations. His advancing years have done nothing to slow the speed of Pacquiao's hands, nor his shifty and smart feet.
He simply danced around and toward Vargas all night, always keeping the younger man exactly where he wanted him. Vargas rarely got close enough to Pacquiao to land any telling punches.
This was a classic case of an experienced fighter using all of his savvy to out-think and outpunch an overwhelmed opponent.
In the end, the scorecards amply reflected Pacquiao's dominance, per Rafael:
As for what's next, a rematch with Floyd Mayweather appears to be top of the agenda. Pacquiao was predictably non-committal when asked about the possibility of a rematch with the man who was in attendance in Las Vegas, per Gareth A. Davies and Chris Graham of the Daily Telegraph: "We will see."
Davies and Graham also noted how Pacquiao confirmed he invited Mayweather to Las Vegas for the fight. It's the one bout sure to make the type of money Pacquiao may have missed out on against Vargas, according to Rafael: "The biggest money would be a rematch with Mayweather. Their fight generated some $600 million."
Another Pacquiao and Mayweather clash may seem inevitable, but not everybody is enthralled by the prospect. In Particular, Mannix believes boxing's popularity took a nosedive after the first fight between the two proved a damp squib.
However, both fighters may still be positioning themselves for one more hefty payday.