Five things we learned over the weekend
Manny Pacquiao is still a force
At 37 and with a disrupted training camp, Manny Pacquiao was still able to outclass WBO world welterweight champion Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas. It was by no means vintage Pacquiao, and the performance was not as impressive as his drubbing of Tim Bradley earlier this year, but the Filipino phenom was still able to stay a step ahead of Vargas. Pacquiao’s political career meant he could only train in the evenings for the majority of his camp, and he flew out to America not long before the fight itself. Still, he darted in and out of range and dropped Vargas in the second, shipping some strong right hands for his efforts but never looking too flustered.
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao II looks closer
There were plenty of interested ringside observors for Pacquiao’s win over Vargas, but none more noticeable than Floyd Mayweather, who famously outpointed Manny last year in their underwhelming blockbuster fight. He had his daughter sat next to him and whenever someone asked why he was ringside, he simply said he was taking her to the fight. However it’s almost impossible to ignore the significance of him being ringside for Pacquiao’s comeback, particularly when one considers that Floyd is no big fan of boxing and almost never watches fights as a fan. He chatted with Top Rank’s Todd duBoef among others, and speculation is now rife that he was at the fight as part of secret plans to stage a rematch between the two.
Shiming and Magdaleno finally hit the world stage
Zou Shiming, a superstar in his native China, became WBO world flyweight champion on the Pacquiao undercard by dominating Prasitsak Phaprom for the vacant title. In 2013 he had failed to dethroned IBF champion Amnat Ruenroeng and his stock – outside of China, at least – dropped massively as he failed to impress in his following outings. Now, he has a belt to match the pulling power he holds thanks to the gargantuan numbers he draws in China. Unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno also picked up his first world title, outpointing WBO super-bantamweight king Nonito Donaire. It was a close fight and the 118-110 turned in by one judge was way out, but Magdaleno deserved the decision. The Las Vegas native has been tipped for world titles for sometime and has now – at 24 – has met those expectations. There are big fights for both Shiming and Magdaleno in the future.
Paddy Barnes already has a huge following
On an entertaining bill in Belfast, double Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes made his professional debut. it was a frustrating affair for the hometown hero, and he had to settle for a disqualification win as his opponent refused to engage. However, the crowd inside the Titanic Exhibition Centre were deafening for Barnes’ fight, which wasn’t even the main event of the show. The fans were brilliant the whole night, which saw a plethora of homegrown talent perform. Barnes is operating at flyweight and gunning for revenge over Shiming, who scuppered his chances of more valuable medals at the Olympics. His support is only going to grow if he keeps winning.
Tyron Zeuge sent a statement
In Germany, Tyron Zeuge stopped Giovanni De Carolis in the final session of their 12-rounder to announce himself as a solid super-middleweight contender. The secondary WBA title was on the line, meaning the young German will eventually get his shot at the full title, which is currently vacant. De Carolis had not been stopped since Max Bursak beat him inside eight rounds way back in 2008 and down at middleweight, and the Italian had taken Arthur Abraham and Vincent Feigenbutz the distance – he also stopped Feigenbutz in their rematch. This fight with Zeuge was also a rematch as the pair fought to a draw earlier in the year. This was a big win for Zeuge.