“My Journey in this Sport is still continuing. I’ve accomplished everything I’ve wanted to, but I also want to continue to keep my name at the top,” “Even at 40 years old I can still show the best of Manny Pacquiao. I’m going to give the fans the speed and power that they are used to seeing.” – Manny Pacquiao
Now that Pacquiao has defended his welter weight title against Adrian Broner at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, what’s next for the legendary Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao? Both Pacquiao and Mayweather had said in late 2018 that they were going to have a rematch but now with Mayweather being noncommittal and Mayweather’s advisor, Leonard Ellerbe squashing all rumors of a rematch, “He’s retired,” “He has no interest in doing that”, said Ellerbe at the Pacquiao/Broner press conference in January. Who will be next for Pacquiao in the welterweight division?
Keith Thurman seems to be the front runner in the Pacquiao fight sweepstakes. Thurman (29-0, 22 KO’s), coming from a unanimous victory over Josesito Lopez. After a 22-month layoff because of multiple injuries, Thurman did not look like the same fighter. He circled around the ring most of the fight and the killer instinct that earned him the nickname “One Time” did not emerge.
But now that he has had a warmup fight after such a long layoff, Thurman thinks he’s ready for Pacman. “He’s not the young Manny Pacquiao that he once was,” Thurman said. “But he still is a great, world-class fighter. If we get that fight, we’d be happy to do it for ourselves and the fans.”
Errol Spence Jr.
Assuming Errol Spence is able to defeat undefeated but undersized Mickey Garcia on March 16th, a fight with Pacquiao is a legit possibility. Pacquiao left longtime promoter Top Rank Boxing and signed with Premier Boxing Champions, which also represents Spence. With that signing, it has made it possible for a fight. Spence (24-0, 21 KO’s) is consistently near the top of most pound-for-pound rankings. Spence is a large welterweight standing nearly six feet tall making him a difficult fight for Pacquiao.
“Me personally I don’t know why people are discounting him,” Spence has said of Pacquiao. “I think Manny Pacquiao is still a top 3 fighter in the welterweight division. Even if he is not the same fighter he was, he is still a fantastic fighter. He’s quick, he’s fast, he’s explosive, he’s awkward. I think Manny Pacquiao can beat 95% of these welterweights out there. I just think that he’s a great fighter to me.”
Another PBC boxer with a pound-for-pound pedigree, Mickey Garcia (39-0, 30 KO’s), is moving up two weight classes to fight Errol Spence on March 16th. Garcia is a natural 135 pound fighter. This fight is very doable and rather exciting considering that both Garcia and Pacquiao are undersized welterweights. Garcia at the age of 19 and Pacquiao at his prime, were sparring partners. That alone makes the story line for a possible fight between the two.
“I think that would be a huge fight (against Pacquiao),” Garcia said in early January. “He’s (Pacquiao) still competitive. Although he is older, he’s still a world champion and still wants the best. That’s just the way he is. He’s a competitor.”
A fight for Pacquiao against Terence Crawford, (34-0, 25 KO’s) is a long shot. Crawford fights for Top Rank Boxing and Pacquiao fights for their rival Premier Boxing Champions. The rival promotional companies have disdain for each other and have little history of working together to make fights happen. Crawford has been considered a top pound-for-pound fighter for the past few years at the junior welterweight and welterweight divisions. Despite this he has shown little interest in a Manny Pacquiao fight.
“Like I said before, I’m not worrying about Pacquiao right now,” a frustrated Crawford said. “If that fight presents itself and it comes to fruition, then we’ll handle that. But until then, I don’t need to get into it.”
Get the latest boxing news here.
Follow @JennySushe on Twitter.
Follow@JennySushe on Instagram.