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Jessie Vargas eyes lit up upon learning that he is in the running for a crack at fighting senator Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 5 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
A native of Sin City, Vargas is one of two fighters being considered by Top Rank chief Bob Arum to serve as Pacquiao’s dance partner when the Filipino eight-division champion comes out of a brief retirement.
While the 18,000-seat Thomas and Mack Center is situated off the Strip, Vargas still feels upbeat that he might end up showcasing his wares before hometown fans.
“It’s still Vegas and we Vegas natives know it’s great thing there,” the 27-year-old Vargas told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“It would be a real treat to fight at home. I look forward to be in position to fight Pacquiao. He’s had my WBO belt before so let’s get a fight.”
Pacquiao, who turns 38 on Dec. 17, decided to retire following his resounding win over Tim Bradley last April.
But a few months into his retirement, Pacquiao felt the itch to continue fighting, prompting Arum to look for a viable opponent.
Also being looked at is the winner of this weekend’s clash between Terence Crawford of the US and Viktor Postol of Ukraine, a one-time sparring partner of Pacquiao.
Vargas, holder of a 27-1 record with ten KOs, is of Mexican descent and is listed at 5-10, more than three inches taller than Pacquiao.
Pacquiao will set up training in Manila in September and bring in long-time cornerman Freddie Roach in the event the Nov. 5 show gets signed.
By mid-October or third week of that month, Pacquiao will likely uproot his training camp in favor of the familiar confines of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California.
A professional since 1995, Pacquiao has logged a 58-6-2 mark with 38 KOs.