MANNY PACQUIAO VS. ERROL SPENCE JR.: WILL PACQUIAO RETIRE AFTER HIS NEXT FIGHT? WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BOXING LEGEND
The 42-year-old could be going out with a bang on August 21.
The recent announcement that Manny Pacquiao will challenge WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. on August 21 in Las Vegas filled the boxing community with excitement.
It will be the undefeated champion and one of the 147lbs division’s current elite against one of the greatest of all time, attempting to enjoy one last run on top.
However, it remains to be seen whether Pacquiao would continue to box, even if he were to win the summer sizzler.
It does seem that the end is near for the 42-year-old, but how much further will he fight on?
Here’s what we know so far.
HOW MANY MORE FIGHTS WILL PACQUIAO HAVE?
The legend’s longtime trainer and confidant Freddie Roach admitted last summer that the plan is for Pacquiao to fight as many as two bouts in 2021, and then focus on running for President of his native Philippines in 2022.
“He won’t fight this year,” Roach told Boxing Scene during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “But if this ever goes away — and I’m not sure it will because it’s getting worse and worse, not better and better — but I think Manny will fight once or twice more before he becomes the president of his country. And then he will retire.”
WILL PACQUIAO FIGHT TWICE IN 2021?
Since Manny’s first fight of the calendar year is an August one, he will need a pretty quick turnaround to fight again before the campaign trail.
And, let’s face it: after a huge showdown with Spence, will anything else realistically offer a better swan song?
Well, perhaps there is one bigger fight should ‘Pac-Man’ pull off the upset against Spence.
COULD PACQUIAO VS. CRAWFORD STILL HAPPEN?
Unbeaten WBO welterweight king Terence Crawford has mooted putting himself in the exact same position Spence now occupies: taking on one of the division’s elder statesmen and biggest ever names in a legacy-defining clash of the titans.
Thus far, we haven’t had Crawford vs. Pacquiao or Crawford vs. Spence. But fans will want to see the winner take on ‘Bud’ in the next logical superfight step.
If Pacquiao loses to Spence, it’s tough to imagine him going through another 12-week camp for what would be a lesser bout. But if he pulls it off, a Spence-Crawford one-two before retiring would cement him as one of the sport’s most intrepid warriors.
COULD PACQUIAO STILL FACE CONOR MCGREGOR?
And while it’s true that it will be tough for Pacquiao to land another elite fight before he retires if he is beaten by Spence, there’s always a money-spinning crossover attraction.
McGregor’s surprising loss in his Octagon rematch vs. Dustin Poirier in January poured cold water on talks to return to boxing for a bout with Pacquiao after losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017. However, “The Notorious” and “The Diamond” run it back one more time for the trilogy in July to decide their series once and for all.
If the Irishman wins and Pacquiao loses to Spence, the trash-talking to build to the sideshow could resume. And while many disapprove of the idea, it’d make a lot of money — and Pacquiao has generously donated large parts of his career earnings to the people of the Philippines in the past, and wishes to continue this with the pandemic doing so much damage.
WHAT IS PACQUIAO’S JOB IN POLITICS?
Pacquiao is currently Senator in his home country, the Philippines. But he has already declared his intention to run for President in 2022. That is what appears to put a more definitive clock on his boxing career, unlike the last time he retired and quickly un-retired. If he were elected President, he simply could not juggle both.
SO, WILL PACQUIAO RETIRE AFTER SPENCE FIGHT?
It seems likely this will be the former eight-weight world champion’s final professional boxing fight. Of course, as outlined above there are scenarios in the event of both a win and a loss that Pacquiao may wish to pursue before his campaign trail hits full gear. However those scenarios require far more conditions than ‘Pac-Man’ simply going out in style, against one of the best in the world today.