When your sense got that much in common/ and you've been hustling since/ your inception/ fuck perception/ go with what makes sense/ since I know what I'm up against”
Jay-Z, Moment of Clarity
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To be clear, WBO welterweight champion Jesse Vargas has no idea what he's up against on Nov. 5 at Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV.
“Manny Pacquiao, is one of the best fighters I faced. His movement… He's very fast… The power comes from his legs when he turns his shots,” reflected Floyd Mayweather with a degree of awe, when asked about the chances of Vargas by FightHype on Monday.
According to Lee Samuels, longtime Top Rank publicist, Vargas has been training like a psychopath at the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas from 6p.m. to 9p.m. daily.
Vargas runs Lee Canyon Trail, a punishing 5-mile upward stretch of asphalt, before grinding up a dirt mountain trail to perform jumping jacks and lunges.
Coming off a nasty destruction of Sadam Ali after nearly KO'ing Timothy Bradley in his lone defeat, Vargas is convinced that he will pound the iconic Filipino legend into retirement.
For reasons I cannot fathom, this fight has been seen as a bore; an unkind ode to the all-time bore that was Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. The public has held a grudge against Pac for the result of that fight– not understanding that Mayweather fought not to lose.
Vargas has inserted himself into Pacquiao's duels with Mexican greats Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales while all but promising to end his legacy on a disastrous note.
I cannot stress enough that this is a GUARANTEED action fight of pride, one that will be fought with the type of intense fervor not seen since Pacquiao went “Wapakman” on Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Jose Ramirez, Top Rank's highly touted former 2012 Olympian, has been sharpening the blades of Pacquiao as a virtual clone of Vargas.
I spoke to rising super lightweight Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed, who headlines the upcoming Oct. 14 Top Rank card against Aaron Herrera in South Philly, about this match-up.
“It's a great fight, and Top Rank is doing a tremendous job with Jose Ramirez. He's the perfect guy to get Manny ready for a strong Jesse Vargas,” said Reed, who believes Pacquiao will win via 10th round stoppage to reclaim the WBO welterweight title.
“As Timothy Bradley said, there are levels to this game, and I think Pacquiao will wear him down mentally before doing it physically.”
Standing at 5'11 and in his prime at age 27, Vargas will tower over the 5'5 Pacquiao and has a 10 year youth advantage. Lead trainer Dewey Cooper wants to pressure/power punch Pacquiao relentlessly, and has instilled supreme confidence in Vargas.
“I am younger, bigger, stronger,” said Vargas. “I have the right team and I'm fighting in my hometown Las Vegas. What can be better than that?”
He has also referred to that team as the “Dream Team”. But in Pacquiao, he's dealing with a fighter capable of entering his dreams and stealing the secrets from his subconscious to render him unconscious. He will find Pacquiao to be a very dangerously complicated Leonardo DiCaprio from the “Inception” of this fight.
Can he keep Pacquiao out of his head while presenting enough deception to get in his?
Up Next… The Bar Fight [Vol. III] Pacquiao vs. Vargas: No Country For Old Men