By: Hans Themistode
When Saudi Arabia landed the Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr rematch in late 2019, not only did they get their hands on one of the biggest fights in recent boxing history, but they also officially became a major player in the boxing landscape.
Arena’s all over the world that became accustomed to hosting some of the biggest boxing events, immediately turned their eyes to their new overseas competition.
Not everyone believed in Saudi Arabia. Sure, they managed to get their hands on one monumental contest, but they weren’t a real threat to get their hands on anymore, right? Well, according to promoter Eddie Hearn, that just isn’t true.
“We’re gonna be doing a show there at the end of June/early July. That’s what we’re looking into at the moment,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “We have a partnership in place with Skills Challenge for shows in Saudi. That also involve’s some exciting stuff about academies and performance centres. The goal is to try and bring amateurs through in Saudi Arabia as well.”
If Joshua vs Ruiz 2 is any indication, then Saudi Arabia will be gunning for another huge name.
Anthony Joshua could make another trip to the area, but so could WBC/Lineal Heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury. An appearance by four division world champion Canelo Alvarez would turn a few heads. So would a showing from three division champ Vasiliy Lomachenko if he decided to pay them a visit.
Every single one of those aforementioned names would bring a ton of star power. But there’s one fighter that wasn’t previously mentioned, that Saudi Arabia currently has an eye on.
“They want us to deliver a huge show at the end of June/early July. I think Manny Pacquiao is a guy they would probably love to bring to the Kingdom.”
Manny Pacquiao in Saudi Arabia? Why not?
During his 25 year career, the eight division world champ has fought just about everywhere.
Las Vegas, Malaysia, Australia and even a pit stop in China back in 2013.
Even at the age of 41 which usually signals retirement, Pacquiao doesn’t seem to be anywhere near the finish line. The WBA Welterweight champ is fresh off a win against Keith Thurman in July of 2019.
As for who he could take on next, simply take a look at the top of the division and take your guess. Unified champion Errol Spence Jr, former belt holder Danny Garcia and four division world champ Mikey Garcia are all on the top of his wish list.
With Pacquiao having a tendency for making his fans pack a passport in order to see him fight, they could be forced to do so again. The current WBA Welterweight star could be on his way to a mega showdown with one of the divisions best, half way access the world in Saudi Arabia.