HBO would prefer for Sergey Kovalev to defeat Andre Ward by knockout and continue to promote him as a premier knockout artist for the coming years. Kovalev – and Ward – has some good years left; Pacquiao is about done. Furthermore, HBO is betting that the high anticipation for Kovalev-Ward will drawn in enough hardcore fans to surpass the small number of casual viewers who may still be interested in watching what is supposed to be a showcase for Pacquiao.
Pacquiao-Vargas is thus on Top Rank Pay-Per-View without funding from HBO. In fact, HBO effectively terminated its contracted with Pacquiao with this move.
|Image: Bleacher Report|
Vargas has yet to come into his own. He was with Mayweather Promotions for some time, a stable intent on grooming athletic boxers, which Vargas is not. He then acquired Roy Jones, Jr. as a trainer and began imitating him. After performing terribly against Timothy Bradley, Vargas appeared in better form against Sadam Ali where he seized the WBO welterweight title. Vargas consistently pressured Ali and repeatedly landed right hands in the stoppage.
If he studied Pacquiao-Bradley 3 in detail, Vargas should have noticed that Bradley was most effective when he was offensive with Pacquiao, for Pacquiao is not a prestiged defender or counter puncher. Given that Bradley’s athelic ability and speed overwhelmed Vargas, and Pacquiao’s speeds exceeds that of Bradley, it would be wise for Vargas to take on the role of pressure fighter. Yes, Vargas is taller and longer than Pacquiao; but yes, he needs to move forward and force Pacquiao on defense with jabs and right hands.