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Staff Predictions | Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas



Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas takes place this Saturday, November 5, 2016 at the Thomas & Mack Center, on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Pacquiao vs. Vargas and its three co-main event world title fights will be produced and distributed live by Top Rank® Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT, and will be available on all conventional platforms, including all major cable and satellite systems, as well as Top Rank’s digital distribution via and mobile devices.

The six co-main event gladiators, representing six different countries, have an impressive combined record of 158-8-6, 104 KOs–and a winning percentage of 92 percent with nearly 2/3 of those victories coming by way of knockout.

Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs), a native of General Santos City, Philippines and now living in Las Vegas, a five-division world champion and the 2012 Fighter of the Year, will be defending his WBO world title belt against No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs), from Las Vegas, NV, who has won eight of his last 10 fights by knockout.

Read on for Round By Round Boxing‘s staff predictions for Pacquiao vs. Vargas and Donaire vs. Magdaleno and let us know who you think will win each bout.

Round By Round Boxing Staff Predictions - 2017

NameWinLossTotal FightsWin Percentage
Alan Garcia94130.69230769230769
Alex Burgos238310.74193548387097
Amber Williams185230.78260869565217
Andrew Kang8081
Brandon Glass152170.88235294117647
Chris Nicastro103130.76923076923077
CJ Halloran103131.6666666666667
Eric Ramos2021
Joseph Rodriguez1131414
Julio Sanchez5160.83333333333333
Liam Brady246300.8
Michael Burnell188260.69230769230769
Milo Taibi0110
Robert Contreras2021
Sarah Gruber94130.69230769230769
Shelbi Keyes2021
Ty Paul233260.88461538461538
Vince Minnick4041
R.L. Woodson2021

Nonito Donaire
Jessie Magdaleno



Shelbi Keyes, Staff Writer

Will experience or youth prevail on November 5? Veteran Filipino boxer Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) will take on undefeated Las Vegas contender, Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs) on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas. The up-and-coming star Magdaleno looks to stay undefeated, while Donaire is coming off four consecutive wins and is out to prove that he isn’t going anywhere just yet.

Magdaleno is confident that the strength and energy which accompany his youth will help him come out victorious and claim Donaire’s WBO Junior Featherweight title. While Magdaleno is banking on his youth, Donaire is counting on his experience in the ring and his love for the sport of boxing to help him retain his belt.

I am expecting a very competitive fight between two driven fighters who are each looking to prove they deserve to be champion. Both fighters are confident they will end the fight early. Donaire is confident that his experience and heart will lend him a victory over Magdaleno, while Magdaleno’s confidence lies in his youth and passion for the sport of boxing.

Many boxing fans believe Donaire’s speed will be the difference maker in this fight. There is no denying the fact that Donaire has extremely quick hands, but I will argue Magdaleno is going to surprise boxing fans Saturday night with his speed–not only his hand speed, but his footwork as well. While I think this is going to be a close fight, I am predicting that youth will prevail this time around. Magdaleno is facing his biggest test to date and personally I think he is ready.

Prediction: Magdaleno


Mike Burnell, Staff Writer

This is an interesting fight between the orthodox “Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire, facing off against an undefeated southpaw in Jessie Magdaleno.

Some of the “Flash” may seem to have faded, but don’t be disillusioned, clashing with the best in your weight range with the likes of Nicholas Walters and Guillermo Riggindeaux should be encouraged.

It is within the last 15 years that the absurd “he has X amount of losses” attitude has appeared, which is historically inconsequential.

Donaire handles Magdaleno in a competitive bout and expect Nonito to be stunned a time or two. Experience counts, Donaire by late stoppage.

Prediction: Donaire


Julio Sanchez, Photographer

Prediction: Donaire


Amber Williams, Photographer

Prediction: Donaire


CJ Halloran, Staff Writer

In the other fight of the night featuring a legend from the Philippines, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire will come head to head with Jessie Magdaleno for the WBO Super Bantamweight titile.

Similar to Manny Pacquiao and Jessie Vargas, Magdaleno is nearly 10 years Donaire’s youth, and with over 150 rounds less of experience than him. The fight should be a fireworks display.

Expect to see both fighters exchanging often, as well as Donaire using his two inch reach advantage to frustrate Magdaleno.

At the end of the night however, I see Donaire coming out by majority or a close unanimous decision.

He has the power to shut down Magdaleno, as well as the experience to change up the pace of the fight if need be.

Prediction: Donaire


Brandon Glass, Staff Writer

Nonito Donaire’s latest tear after a return to the Junior Featherweight division has been all but completely ignored by the boxing media. The once slated “heir apparent” to Manny Pacquiao’s throne at Top Rank seems to have devolved into a gatekeeper at this point, despite winning a world title last year and defending it in April. Unfortunately, a successful second defense over Jessie Magdaleno is not going to catapult him to the spot he occupied four years ago, but it will certainly help.

I have always been impressed with Magdaleno’s athleticism, speed, and power since the first time I saw him fight on Friday Night Fights back in 2011. I believe he possesses more natural gifts than his older brother and perennial contender, Diego. However, this is a huge step up in competition, despite his being stuck at a prospect-level tier for the past two years.

This matchup pits power and experience against speed and athleticism. Ultimately, it’s really about whether Donaire’s best days as fighter are behind him or not, and if so; has everything Magdaleno’s done up until this point prepared him to be a world champion?

It’s a toss-up, but I feel like this is Magdaleno’s fight to lose. He has the tools to pull this off, he just needs to stay sharp and not get caught by Donaire’s power. I also think fighting in his hometown will give him the motivation to impress, just as long as he doesn’t get reckless. I think he gets a middle round knockout.

Prediction: Magdaleno


Alex Burgos, Editor-in-Chief

I like this fight a lot. The old veteran and champion Nonito Donaire wants to prove that he can still hang with the young guns, while Jessie Magdaleno wants to prove that he’s ready for the big leagues.

I think Magdaleno is the goods, and with the gradual fading of Donaire’s skills, I think the WBO Junior Featherweight title is ripe for the taking. Donaire isn’t a pushover by any means, but Magdaleno should be able to control pace and beat Donaire by decision.

Magdaleno can’t let the hometown crowd or big stage rattle him, he has to be prepared for 12 rounds of championship boxing, and that includes being wary of Donaire’s power until the very end. I like Magdaleno to put on a solid performance and take home the title.

Prediction: Magdaleno

Manny Pacquiao
Jessie Vargas


Liam Brady, Graphic Designer/Staff Writer

I think it is apparent that Jessie Vargas does not possess the elusiveness needed to frustrate a fighter like Manny Pacquiao. His lack of head movement, lack of speed, and occasional defensive lapses when throwing shots will be his undoing, and I feel he will not have an answer when the combinations of Pacquiao start to land consistently. Though he is tenacious, and has a solid overhand right, Vargas cannot match Pacquiao for offensive ability.

If anything, Vargas’ best bet is hoping the duties of being a senator, balanced with training, is too taxing for Pacquiao. Though the new responsibilities may affect Pacquiao slightly due to his age, I still think he possesses great endurance, making him well equipped to fight for 12 rounds.

Furthermore, I do not think Vargas has enough power to discourage Pacquiao. Instead, I think Vargas will be discouraged from engaging, once he tastes a few of Pacquiao’s counter left hands.

Pacquiao’s head movement and reflexes are far superior, meaning he will be too quick and too canny. I don’t think we will see a knockout, but a comprehensive performance with maybe a few knockdowns, à la Pacquiao versus Chris Algieri, or Tim Bradley III.

As a result, I see Pacquiao earning a wide decision win over a solid, but inferior opponent.

Prediction: Pacquiao


Shelbi Keyes, Staff Writer

This is a great stylistic matchup. On paper, this fight looks good for Jessie Vargas–he is younger, he is taller and he has a longer reach, but Manny Pacquiao looked very impressive in his last fight against Timothy Bradley.

I am not counting Jessie Vargas out of this fight by any means. Vargas has a lot of heart and he is more motivated than ever to prove he is one of the best fighters in boxing. To win this fight, Vargas will have to use his height and reach to his advantage and work behind his jab. Jessie should also focus on timing Manny Pacquiao and landing that big right hand.

Even though Pacquiao is getting older, he is still Manny Pacquiao. In his last fight against Bradley, he was able to pick his opponent apart rather easily. Pacquiao will need to use his speed and agility to frustrate the younger Vargas. Pacquiao will also need to work in and out while throwing combinations, he does not want to get stuck in the middle of the ring brawling with Vargas.

With all of that being said, even though I do not foresee this bout being an easy one for either fighter, I am predicting that Pacquiao will walk away with the WBO Welterweight title. Pacquiao is a very intelligent fighter and has an abundant amount of ring experience, fighting the best of the best.

Though I think Vargas will put up a great fight, I think Pacquiao still has enough left in his tank to come out on top. Pacquiao’s hand speed and footwork will lead him to yet another victory.

Prediction: Pacquiao


Mike Burnell, Staff Writer

The “return” of the future Hall of Fame fighter, Manny Pacquiao, comes as no surprise to knowledgeable fight fans. The opponent, Jesse Vargas is likewise not a big surprise while we hoped for a much more palatable matchup.

For those pay-per-view buyers take heart, it won’t be a blow-out. Vargas is a good fighter who is very motivated and will give Pacquiao something to think about for the first four or five rounds.

His speed and footwork will present exciting moments. He is however facing the whirling blades of the baddest southpaw in Pacquiao, even at almost 38 years of age.

Jessie is unlikely to hear the final bell however; if he does (barring a robbery reminiscent of the first Tim Bradley fight) he will be a happy, proud mess.

Vargas will be a much better fighter as a result of this amazing experience and will move forward and be someone to watch. Pac by late stoppage.

Prediction: Pacquiao


Julio Sanchez, Photographer

Prediction: Pacquiao


Alan Garcia, Staff Writer

Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas, only to casual fans does this fight sound appealing. With November 5 fast approaching, the clash between these two warriors is right around the corner.

When I first heard this fight being made, I thought of only one reason why they chose Vargas as an opponent–to make Pacquiao look phenomenal. Because in nobody’s right mind is this fight going to be even close to a competitive fight.

Boxing is all about the two best fighters going head to head, reducing all physical aspects of a fight to a fight of heart and will—because of they’re equally matched skills. However, boxing is the theater of the unexpected, and anything can happen. But in this case, Pacquiao’s experience alone will be enough to keep the young Vargas gun shy.

The unpredictable sport of boxing is often compared (by the old timers) a game of “rock, paper, scissors” because styles always make fights. For example; Joe Frazier beats Muhammad Ali, Ali beats George Foreman, Foreman beats Frazier. In most cases, a fight can be predicted based on the styles and the attributes each fighter possesses.

There can be an argument for Vargas against Pacquiao being the same example of “rock, paper scissors,” but sometimes (after so much time invested in the technique of the sport), one can compare skill levels alone and that’s enough to determine a guaranteed win. This is how promoters carefully match their cash cows in order to make them look spectacular against a lower skilled opponent.

If a pillow puncher like Timothy Bradley was outclassing Vargas, when Pacquiao clearly schooled Bradley in all of their three fights, imagine how Vargas will react to the same output, but only this time with power behind each punch landed. I just can’t see this fight in favor for Vargas at all.

Vargas hasn’t faced an opponent with the relentless speed and monster punching power that Pacquiao will display on Saturday night. Situations like these often make a man prove himself by making him dig as deep as possible as he can in order to overcome such a tough challenge. I hope it’s the case for Vargas, I’m always in favor of the underdog, but because I know this sport so well, I can’t see Vargas getting past the ninth round.

Vargas has everything to be a good fighter, but he lacks talent. Natural born, raw talent, that makes a good fighter a great fighter. Maybe with time and experience, facing real tough opposition along the way, then Vargas can be a world champion again. He’s still a young kid with a lot left in the furnace and will be a good journeyman after this fight.

Pacquiao however, still has the fame of the name he once proudly carried with him everywhere he went around the world. Now that he’s so close to retiring (again), his name will be squeezed for as much money as possible. Boxing is basically just that, a sport for the poor to make a lucrative amount to overcome poverty and promotional greed to keep the money flowing in, by any means necessary.

In this case, since Pacquiao’s superstar level is far more relevant now than what his actual skill level once was, they have to keep protecting Pacquiao’s image by making him look phenomenal against a lower class fighter—Vargas.

The only reason they can get away with selling this fight is because Vargas holds the WBO and WBA world titles. I can almost guarantee that if Vargas wasn’t a champion and this fight was made, no one would tune in. A part of me knows that HBO isn’t hosting this fight for the same reason. Just like when they didn’t host the friendly sparring session between Pacquiao vs Shane Mosley.

In conclusion, boxing is a young mans sport and the torch will have to be passed on sooner or later. Unfortunately theres a name out there that has been thrown around for Pacquiao to fight one day. And the name is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

It only makes sense for Canelo to gain yet another big name to his list of mismatches. And I feel that this fight against Vargas will definitely catapult Pacquiao as the leading candidate for a fight agains the Mexican fighter Alvarez. Therefore Pacquiao has to knock Vargas out, and thats how I predict this fight ending. Pacquiao will knock Vargas out by the eight or ninth round.

Prediction: Pacquiao


Andrew Kang, Staff Writer

Manny Pacquaio by unanimous decision. He doesn’t score knockouts anymore but his speed, versatility, movement and big edge in power will be too much for Jessie Vargas.

Manny is still just in another class.

Prediction: Pacquiao


Jack O’Connell, Staff Writer

Remember back in April when I was dead set that Timothy Bradley was going to retire Manny Pacquiao in their third and final fight? I was convinced Pacquaio was at the twilight of his career.

Floyd Mayweather made him look completely flat less than a year ago, and Bradley appeared sensational under the tutorage of a new trainer. Surely, we had seen the legacy of Manny Pacquiao coming to an end.

Then Pacquiao reminded me why he’s a living boxing wonder.

Pacquiao put a definite beatdown on Bradley, knocking him down twice and outfighting a pound-for-pound ranked fighter. After that, I’m pretty convinced to never doubt the Pac Man again.

Jessie Vargas is a great fighter. He’s got plenty of heart and solid fundamentals. The jab is solid, he keeps a tight guard, and the overhand right he has been showing off lately is pure danger to the Pac Man.

Yet, none of this is enough to topple the legend. Pacquiao is just too quick for Vargas. Pacquiao should turn circles around Vargas all night, picking him off straight lefts and hooks around Vargas’ guard. Vargas just isn’t the best counter puncher in the world, so he should struggle to even get going.

If Vargas is to win, he needs to keep focused and use his talents. His best shot is to come forward and pump his jab out, looking to set up overhand rights. Yet, I can’t picture Vargas being active enough to win. Vargas’ high guard will keep his hands right at home while Pacquaio drills him with power shots.

Pacquiao’s power hasn’t carried well to Welterweight and Vargas is a tough cookie, so expect a 12 rounder, folks. Pacquiao by wide decision.

Prediction: Pacquiao


Amber Williams, Photographer

Prediction: Vargas


CJ Halloran, Staff Writer

In the first fight back since his proclaimed “final fight” against Tim Bradley, Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao returns to the ring against Jessie “Ruthless” Vargas. With a full 10 years of age between the two fighters, both have advantages and disadvantages.

Vargas will have the clear age advantage, although he lacks Pac Man’s experience in the ring by nearly 250 rounds.

Honestly, I see no way of Vargas winning this. He may be able to match Pacquiao’s speed, but if the fight turns to a brawl, it’s all Paquiao.

To add onto this, Pacquiao’s intensity and constant forward push is something I’m not sure Vargas is ready for. My prediction is Pacquiao by uanimous decision with a knockdown or two scattered throughout.

Prediction: Pacquiao


Brandon Glass, Staff Writer

You have to wonder what is motivating a 38-year-old Manny Pacquiao–fresh off of a retirement that only lasted seven months–to return to the ring? Either way, I can’t say that I’m not disappointed that he chose Jessie Vargas over Terence Crawford, but that’s boxing. With the shadow of Pacquiao’s legacy looming over this fight, it doesn’t really feel like it’s Vargas’s WBO title on the line.

Vargas has had a significant step up in competition in his past three fights, and outside of a controversial loss to Tim Bradley in a spirited effort, he exceeded expectations. The newly developed power in his right hand has become a caveat to future opponents. The word is that he’s been dropping his sparring partners in camp.

In this matchup, Vargas has most of the advantages needed to win: youth, reach, and height. If applied properly, this could be all he needs to retire the Filipino icon. In his last scrap, Vargas used the body jab to set up his offense against a mobile Sadam Ali. A similar strategy to how Floyd Mayweather used it against Pacquiao when they fought. If Vargas can stay behind his jab, use it downstairs, and cut off the ring with hard combinations; he might be able to pull off the biggest upset of his career.

Still, what makes this fight intriguing is that Pacquiao’s advantages are the most vital; speed and experience. Pacquiao’s fists don’t starch his opponents like they used to, but his speed and unorthodox footwork can still confuse Vargas. Especially since Vargas is a come-forward, aggressive type. The criticism used to be that this archetype was tailor-made for Pacquiao a few years ago.

The real question is can Pacquiao avoid Vargas’s right hand and defy father time? I think he does, even if there were some setbacks in camp. Pacquiao’s footwork and hand speed will produce combinations from angles that Vargas has rarely seen, if it all, in his career. I think Vargas will struggle to punch with Pacquiao on the inside. More importantly, Vargas’s lack of counter punching and head movement creates more opportunities for Pacquiao to land clean, effective punches with his in-and-out attack. Dare I say a stoppage?

Prediction: Pacquiao


Alex Burgos, Editor-in-Chief

Not much fanfare involved in this one. Fight week has been pretty much a sleep walk, and while Manny Pacquiao looked pretty damn good earlier this year against Tim Bradley, nobody really seems to care that he’s fighting WBO Welterweight champion, Jessie Vargas.

Bradley will be part of the pay-per-view commentating team, and he’s already said that once Vargas gets in there with Pacquiao, he’ll realize that there are levels to boxing. I have to agree with Bradley.

If Pacquiao comes in firing off odd-angle combinations and can keep the pace up like he did against Bradley, Vargas will be guessing all night. He’ll be tentative because Pacquiao is fast as hell and his footwork is scary.

I can see some flash knockdowns–off balance type stuff–where Pacquiao just frustrates Vargas. I think this will be a one-sided decision victory for the Filipino icon and yet another belt on his ledger.

Prediction: Pacquiao

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All photos by Top Rank


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