Pacquiao-Vargas: The Vegas Vibe
(Las Vegas, NV)— I've never seen someone so pissed off with a bible in their hands.
As if getting to this nuclear-bombed adult desert playground surrounded by idyllic mountains wasn't hectic enough, upon walking off the jetway at McCarran International is a really angry guy of latino descent, like, slugging the good book and screaming into a cell phone.
Fast approaching is a man who looks like all he's missing is a pitchfork. You can tell shit is about to go down, and it did.
“Oh My God! They're fighting!!”came the dramatic screams of a frightened teenage blond girl. I had trouble processing it all, but sinfully confessed to myself, “This is cool.”
My cabbie cussed people out and kept one hand on the steering wheel and the other in the air with a raised middle-finger up the entire trip over to the Wynn, site of the weigh-in for Manny Pacquiao and Jesse Vargas.
At these events you're looking for “tells,” and WBO welterweight champion Vargas' told Pacquiao in body language: “Yea, I meant it when I said I'm going to beat the shit out of you… You gettin KTFO tomorrow, buddy.”
Vargas came in at a ready 146.5, seriously souped up by trainer Dewey Cooper and quite a few hometown fans in attendance. Still, they were all drowned out by the mob of Pacmaniacs; he at 144.5 had the look of a November 2009 “Pac-Man”. When he began this camp, Manny had gone back to the early 2000's “No Fear” look. Totally understanding Vargas wants war, Pac switched to his peak Bruce Lee mode look.
The boxing world is about to witness the Manny Pacquiao they'd hoped to see against Floyd Mayweather last year, and that means “Game of Death” for the reign of Jesse Vargas.
After reviewing tape and looking at these two up close, I think Vargas is going to approach Pacquiao just like the guy I saw at the airport, which will probably result in a rather uncomfortable ambulance ride on Saturday night.
Sen. Pacquiao is tough on come-forward thug types, and Vargas – while dangerous and more skilled than say, Brandon Rios – won't understand Pacquiao's incredible shotmaking ability. He's quicker than Vargas; with point guard feet and featherweight hand speed.
What makes this a more compelling version of Pacquiao vs. Margarito are two things: Pacquiao's overall economy with age, and the overt aggression of Vargas.
In what will feel like a bar fight, Vargas will battle bravely and, quite literally, force Manny Pacquiao to finish him in the 8th round to reclaim the WBO welterweight championship.
Hell, it might even be so good that it makes Stephen A. Smith lose his voice.