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Manny Pacquiao: Interesting fall back option if big fight falls through

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Negotiations are well underway for Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao, a megafight between boxing's biggest stars.

And while fans are eagerly anticipating an announcement next week, both camps have obviously considered a Plan B should Mayweather vs Pacquiao fail to materialize.

Recently, Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach acknowledged there are few next-in-line alternatives for the Filipino legend.

Could Pacquiao's promoter, Top Rank, see this coming a year ago?

If so, it explains why the promotional company may have tried to lure former Mayweather opponent and Top 10 welterweight Robert Guerrero from the clutches Golden Boy Promotions in January 2014.

Had Guerrero been able to terminate his contract with Golden Boy, he would have certainly been Top Rank's alternative. Actually, Guerrero may have replaced Chris Algieri and the later would have probably been today's fall back.

So, who holds that dubious spot?

It's not known for sure but we have a strong lead.

WBA "Regular" Champion Jessie Vargas (26-0, 9 KOs) has been featured on Manny's last two undercards, defeating a southpaw both times.

Coincidence? Pacquiao, of course, is a southpaw and they are not easy to find.

Prior to facing Manny Pacquiao the first time, Tim Bradley was featured on the Pacquiao vs Marquez 3 undercard as well, and against a southpaw (Joel Casamayor).


Vargas is a good up-and-coming fighter but he lacks name recognition. If you're not a hardcore fan of the sport, you have probably never heard of him. Nevertheless, he's likely Top Rank's 'fall back' option.

In his most recent outing, Vargas' chief second was future Hall of Fame fighter Roy Jones Jr., and the latter has already started 'beating the proverbial drum' for Pacquiao vs Vargas.

"Jessie Vargas is ready to fight anybody, and I can see him getting in the ring with Manny Pacquiao next year," stated Jones in November.

Incidentally, Roy is believed to be developing a master strategy to topple Pacquiao.

"Roy Jones Jr. is working on a gameplan for Manny Pacquiao just in case we do get the opportunity. He's already working on it and I believe that he'll come up with a great gameplan," Vargas told On the Ropes Radio last month.

Another interesting twist to what we hope will be an abbreviated stortyline is the recent addition of controversial conditioning coach and nutritionist Angel "Memo" Heredia Hernandez to Team Vargas.

In his most recent bout, November 22 on the undercard of Pacquiao vs Algieri, several trainers and fans suggested Jessie looked stronger and more 'fit' than usual in his decision win over Antonio DeMarco.

Coincidence? Memo seems to get results wherever he goes.

There's no excuse for Mayweather vs Pacquiao not happening this spring but if it doesn't, you may be looking at Top Rank's back-up.

Jessie Vargas facts
  • Age: 25
  • Record: 26-0, 9 KO
  • Division: Jr Welterweight (140 lbs)
  • Title: WBA Regular 
  • Rank in division: BoxRec No. 3,  RING Magazine, No. 7
  • Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
  • Reach: 72 in (183 cm)
  • Roger Mayweather: Started training Vargas when the latter was eight
  • Amateur Record: 120-–20.
  • Amateur Achievements: Two-time Mexican National Champion, a two U.S. Junior National Champion and was a member of the 2008 Mexican Olympic Team.


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