Pacquiao vs Thurman
Photo: CBS Sports
Manny Pacquiao has not let middle-age slow him down. Pacquiao has managed to stay active as a fighter in recent years even with his being elected to the Philippines Senate back in 2016.
Pacquiao became the oldest Welterweight champion after defeating Keith Thurman by split decision in July of 2019. Since then, trainer Freddie Roach has said that the fighter has a few more fights left in him before retiring from boxing. After retirement Pacquiao plans to run for president of the Philippines in 2022.
Rumors are rife amounts the fan base over who 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 PPV events in history and a rematch could 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.
Pacquiao has also been linked to a fight between Connor McGregor. McGregor has said that his ultimate goal is a rematch with Mayweather but that 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 had to put those plans on hold. Further compounding the issue is finding a venue that is viable. Saudi Arabia and the United States are both contending to host any potential fight but both countries would have to make significant progress on slowing down the virus. Pacquiao’s schedule is very tight due to his obligations as a Senator as well, and he is normally only available to fight in January and July as a result, so a return may not happen this year
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 when and who?