Don’t Call it a Comeback: The Return of Manny Pacquiao
By: Matthew N. Becher
It is official, Manny Pacquiao is no longer retired. Pacquiao, who said he was leaving the sport after beating Timothy Bradley earlier this year has an official fight date of November 5th against WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas.
Pacquiao’s longtime adviser Michael Koncz told the LA Times “Retirement doesn’t suit Manny right now…Boxing is in his Blood.” Pacquiao, who has since become a Senator in his native Philippines is fighting for the 2nd time this year, which is more than almost any other major fighter in the sport today. Which doesn’t really even make this a comeback or a retirement.
Many suitors were in the mix for this fight. Four time division champion Adrien Broner was said to have priced himself out. Newly crowned lineal Jr. Welterweight champion Terrence Crawford seemed to be the top guy for the fight, until Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach spoke up about not wanting his man to fight Crawford, claiming that Manny would not be at 100%, since a majority of this camp would take place in the Philippines and take place around and after Pacquiaos senatorial duties.
Koncz and Bob Arum will be headed to the Philippines this week to speak with Pacquiao about where the actual fight will take place. Supposedly it will take place in Vegas or Dubai. Koncz said, “That’s the essence of the meeting (choosing location)….Not choosing the opponent. That’s already been done.”
Now the question comes into play, why did Manny even make this announcement of retirement. He is still on his normal schedule of fighting twice a year. He will take a pay cut from his normal $20+ million dollar payday from Arum. The fact that this is a Pay per view fight is another issue that people are taking up arms about. After a ppv of Algieri, Rios, and Bradley 3 all doing worse and worse, how can Top Rank look to make money on this fight?
Here is the point. Pacquiao is 37 and still one of the best in the division. He beat the brakes off Bradley for a third time only a few months ago. Most likely he will be a big favorite in this fight against Vargas and win another major title in the welterweight division. The end game is most likely a rematch with Mayweather in May of 2017, but, why Mayweather would take on an active Pacquiao after two years out of the game, with no tune up fights. Sure a lot of money will be on the table, but so will Mayweathers undefeated record, and a 50th win at that.
This is both a lead up to fight Crawford next year and set up Top Ranks new star. The Pay per view game is not doing well. The era of the Mayweather and Pacquiao paydays are over, but promoters still need to find the cash cows to keep them in the black, and Crawford may have been passed this time around, to set up his future next spring.