What does the future hold for Manny Pacquiao?
Pacquiao vs Thurman
Photo: CBS Sports
Manny Pacquiao has not let his age slow him down. He has managed to stay active as a fighter in recent years despite being elected to the Philippines Senate back in 2016.
Pacquiao became the oldest Welterweight champion in history after defeating Keith Thurman by split decision in July of 2019. His trainer Freddie Roach has said that the fighter has two more fights left in him before retirement. Pacquiao plans to run for president of the Philippines in 2022 after his career is over.
Rumors abound over whom Pacquiao could face next. Some have speculated that a rematch between Pacquiao and Mayweather could be on the horizon. Their first fight in 2015 was one of the most lucrative pay-per-view events in history and a rematch could surely set new records. Pacquiao’s camp is hopeful for a rematch to avenge his loss in what many felt was a disappointing match. Mayweather announced late last year that he was set to fight again in 2020 and has also expressed interest in a rematch.
Another fighter that is rumored to be on Pacquiao's radar is former UFC fighter, Connor McGregor. McGregor has said that his ultimate goal is a rematch with Mayweather, but he was in talks with Pacquiao back in January about a possible bout. Nothing seemed to materialize out of those talks but recently Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach went on record to say that Pacquiao “will destroy Conor McGregor inside three rounds,” if a fight between the two does happen. It is speculated that the super fight could generate $250 million, providing a big incentive for the two fighters to come to the table.
Unfortunately, any potential fight could be hampered by the ongoing pandemic. Pacquiao had expressed interest in a fight in July but was forced to put those plans on hold. His schedule is very tight due to his obligations as a Senator and he is normally only available to fight in January and July so his return may have to wait until 2021. Another factor that could negatively affect the scheduling of a potential bout is the struggle to find a viable venue. Saudi Arabia and the United States are two possible destinations, but both countries would have to make significant progress on slowing down the virus before taking on such an event.
While there are multiple factors to contend with bringing Pacquiao back into the ring, the potential payout is too high for the current WBA Welterweight champion to ignore. It is almost certain Pacquiao will fight again, the only questions are who will he be facing and when will he return?