Manny Pacquiao has confirmed his ring return, but not in the form that many expected it to take.
The 44-year-old is boxing’s only eight-division world champion. His record of 62-8-2 with 39 knockouts spans 26 years and sees him branded one of the best to ever lace up.
A defeat to Yordenis Ugas back in 2021 had fans hoping that ‘PacMan’ had been inside the ropes for the last time, but recent discussions to fight Conor Benn – currently embroiled in a doping scandal – said otherwise.
With Benn unable to fight in his home country currently, he and promoter, Eddie Hearn, had planned to stage a comeback bout following his two failed tests – of which he claims innocence – overseas.
At a time, the frontrunner was Pacquiao in the Middle East on June 3, and that looked the only solid option after Chris Eubank Jr appeared to be out of the running.
Whilst Pacquiao’s advisor and head of MP Promotions, Sean Gibbons, was bullish about their desire to fight the 26-year-old Brit, the man himself seems to have confirmed otherwise.
On the Showtime broadcast for Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia, the fighter-turned-politician said that he would be out this year in an exhibition. He later confirmed this in an interview with FightHype.
“Yes [I am coming back] – I have an exhibition match this coming July.”
It’s something that will please most fans, believing ‘PacMan’s famous legacy is only really there to be tarnished from now on and at this age. The opponent for the July event is currently unknown.
As for Benn, it seems the big return against a boxing legend is off the table – unless in some strange twist his team are considering exhibition rules.
News recently that he has been formally charged and was awaiting a hearing in front of the UK Anti-Doping Agency also complicates the return, with the British Board seemingly ready to have some influence with foreign commissions who consider hosting Benn.