Pacquiao returns to claim WBO welterweight title

LAS VEGAS: Manny Pacquiao put on a dazzling display in his return to the ring after a brief retirement, scoring a unanimous decision over champion Jessie Vargas to claim the WBO welterweight title in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Despite giving away 10 years to his opponent, the 37-year-old Pacquiao fought with more intensity and energy, and dominated the American in the final rounds to close out an emphatic victory.

The judges scored the bout 114-113, 118-109 and 118-109 in favour of Pacquiao, the only fighter to hold titles in eight divisions, with the Filipino improving to 59-6-2, while Vargas fell to 27-2.

"It was interesting for me. We were on our toes trying to catch a big shot. He caught me a couple of times, I caught him a couple of times. It was an entertaining fight," he said.

"It's a good learning experience being against one of the best such as Manny Pacquiao. This automatically elevated my game and I know I have more potential."

Earlier, undefeated 25-year-old Mexican Oscar Valdez Jr (22-0) topped the undercard with a brutal seventh-round stoppage of Japan's Hiroshige Osawa (30-4-4) to retain his WBO featherweight championship.