By: Sean Crose
It’s been over six months since Manny Pacquiao was in the ring. The Filipino icon’s last fight was in July, 2019, when he surprisingly (to some at least) bested WBA welterweight champion Kieth “One Time” Thurman in a bout that actually saw Pacquiao put his much younger opponent onto the mat. Since that time, Pacquiao has undoubtedly been busy working as a senator in his homeland, where he holds elected office. At 41, however, the man is showing no interest in retiring from the sport of boxing. Still, word is that the fighter known as “Pac Man” won’t return to the ring until this summer. With that being said, questions are now swirling as to who exactly it is Pacquiao will fight next.
Those hoping for a fight between Pacquiao and divisional star – and multi-titlist – Errol Spence Jr will most likely be disappointed for the time being. Spence was involved in a serious automobile accident last fall. Although it appears he’s emerging from the incident no worse for wear and wants to return to fight a top opponent, there’s been little to no talk that Spence’s next fight will be against the legendary Pacquiao. Then there’s Danny Garcia, a former titlist who, despite two close losses (one to Thurman and one to Shawn “Showtime” Porter)is no easy out. Garcia might even be favored against the aging Pacquiao should the two men meet in Pacquiao’s next fight.
Another Garcia is being mentioned as a possible opponent for Pacquiao. Although former titlist Mikey Garcia got dominated by Spence when he stepped up into the welterweight division last year, an impressive performance against Jesse Vargas (who Pacquiao once bested) late in February showed the Californian can hold his own in the division. With only the single loss to Spence on his resume, Garcia is a deliberate, highly skilled fighter who clearly wants to get back in the ring with a high profile opponent.
hen there’s the glamour fights. Pacquiao has, for years now, wanted a second crack at Floyd Mayweather after dropping a decision to the man called “Money” in their disappointing 2015 superfight. Mayweather has played with the idea, but has never gone through with making a deal. Mayweather’s last fight was against UFC star Conor McGregor, who is also seen as a potential high profile, high earning Pacquiao opponent. Whoever Pacquiao ends up getting in the ring with it, it’s hard to imagine that it would be a tuneup match. At this point in his career, the future Hall of Famer seems set on only facing name fighters – at least this time around.