By: Sean Crose
First he was going to fight UFC star Conor McGregor. Then he was going to fight rising star Ryan Garcia. It’s now unclear who the 40+ year old legend Manny Pacquiao will face next – but the Filipino icon has indicated via social media that he will be returning to the ring sooner rather than later. “Training camp has begun,” Pacquiao tweeted on Tuesday. “I’m ready to get back in the ring and to further add to my legacy in the sport of boxing. Big news coming soon.” One is left to wonder what the big news is.
With McGregor losing disastrously to Dustin Poirier at a huge UFC event last month and talk of a Ryan Garcia fight cooling down, perhaps only true insiders know who Pacquio’s next opponent will be. There’s plenty of opponents out there – as, even in the twilight of his career, Pacqiuao is still one of the top draws in combat sports. There’s welterweight titlists like Errol Spence and Terence Crawford to choose from. There’s also high end names like Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, and (interestingly) Shawn Porter undoubtedly available. And then, of course there’s the aforementioned McGregor and Ryan Garcia. Both men would clearly be happy to share the ring with the fighter nicknamed “PacMan.”
In truth, the 42 year old future Hall of Famer hasn’t been in the ring since 2019. That most likely has to do with the Covid Pandemic, which has closed or slowed down endeavors throughout the globe over the last year. Pacquiao’s last fight was in summer 2019, when he stunned a whole lot of people by besting younger defending WBA titlist Keith Thurman in impressive fashion. Before that, Pacquiao had bested another younger fighter of note – Adrien Broner. All of this has added to the story of a fan friendly late career resurrection for a fighter many considered past the point of notable wins.
Pacquiao’s first professional fight went down 26 years ago this past January. Since that time he’s gone on to win major titles in eight divisions, a surprising record even in this day and age. What’s more, the man has earned well over half a billion dollars over the course of his long career. Throw in the fact that he’s a sitting senator in his homeland and it’s clear that Pacquiao is one of the most notable participants in one of the world’s most notable sports. With that in mind, it’s hard not to assume that Pacquiao’s career is closing in on its inevitable end. That makes any ring related news from Pacqiuao major news to the boxing world.