By Sean Crose
Forget what you heard about Manny Pacquiao having one last fight before calling it a career. According to Bob Arum, the man will be fighting again early on in 2016…and will keep on fighting from there. So much for sailing off into the sunset.
“I thought maybe Manny would fight one or two more times,” Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, was quoted as saying by ESPN’s Dan Rafael, “and when I said that, Manny corrected me. He said he wants to keep fighting.”
Pacquiao, as many or most fans know, suffered a severe rotator cuff injury before/during his financially epic battle with Floyd Mayweather last May. That injury required surgery and a good bit of rest. Arum, however, has made it clear that his man is going to return sooner rather than later.
“Manny,” Arum said, “will be fighting next year. I think everything will be good for him to fight by February.” That’s good news for Pacquiao fans. It may also prove to be good news for boxing, as Pacquiao clearly wants his follow up to the Mayweather fiasco to be against a notable opponent.
Indeed, Arum has stated that Pacquiao has five potential foes in mind – five prominent potential foes: Amir Khan, Kell Brook, Terrence Crawford, Juan Manuel Marquez and Lucas Matthysse. While none of those fighters would bring in the financial windfall Floyd did, they would all present a fight any fan in his or her right mind would love seeing.
What’s more, it’s hard to see how any of these fighters, save perhaps Marquez, who flattened PacMan in their fourth and latest (or is it final?) bout, could say no to the chance to face the Filipino icon. Khan has been begging for a spotlight opponent. Khan is looking to assert himself in a big way. Same with Matthysse. And Crawford? Well, if you were considered the future of the sport, wouldn’t you want to fight Manny?
“Arum,”, “told ESPN.com on Monday that Pacquiao’s return will come in February or March — but no later than the second week of April — and take place at a venue to be determined in Las Vegas.”
That’s right, Manny looks to be fighting in Vegas during his return. So much for Macau, or Dubai, or Neptune or whatever other place has been mentioned. Arum seems willing to let his man kick off a comeback in what is still boxing’s Mecca.
Such ambition on the part of Pacquiao is smart. People are still clearly burned over the Mayweather fight and at least partially blame Manny for the lack of action (he was sold as the more aggressive of the two, after all). A series of good fights could go a long way to making things right with the public – especially if the man goes on a winning streak.
Still, Arum is assertively stating that he wants his man in shape when it comes time to resume fighting. Shortcuts and good-enoughs are apparently not an option. “Manny said his shoulder is fine,” Rafael quotes Arum as saying, “but that is not good enough for me.” The famed promoter clearly wants the best in the business (the medical business, that is) checking Pacquiao out before the guy is cleared to fight.
If he’s still healthy and not burned out by the albatross that was May 2nd, Pacquiao may be able to keep rolling on. After a point, however, one’s well-being has to become a primary issue, whether it’s because of a shoulder injury or just plain old workplace wear and tear. Here’s hoping Manny’s making the right decision here.