Manny Pacquiao will return to fight again professionally in 2023, representing a 73rd contest for boxing’s only eight-weight world champion.
The Filipino superstar, who retired initially in 2021, wants to make a sensational comeback after two years out.
Despite losing against Yordenis Ugas in his final bout and not looking at his best, Pacquiao believes he can still make a dent at 44.
The welterweight division is currently tied up with a possible clash between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford. This means Pacquiao might consider boiling down to the lower weight for a title challenge.
Manny Pacquiao returns in 2023
As right-hand man Sean Gibbons explained to ESPN, all is still in the air.
“He retired for a minute to run for President of the Philippines, where he took a respectful third place,” Gibbons told ESPN. “After that, he felt that his retirement was due to running for president. Now that [he wasn’t elected], he wants to fight again and feels like he can do it at the highest level.
“Manny is an all-time great. He feels like he still has a lot of fight left in him. He still wants to compete at the highest level. Pacquiao is ready to go.”
“Manny Pacquiao, this is what he’s been doing his whole life, boxing. He feels like he has a lot left to give in boxing,” added Gibbons.
Speaking at an Alaxan event in Pasig, Pacquiao revealed that an exhibition against a combat YouTuber wasn’t enough to get his juices flowing.
“I missed boxing. I’m okay with exhibitions. But for me, as a boxer, you want to be a world champion again,” Pacquiao stated.
“There is still that dream to return to boxing. Right now, I’m focused on training and conditioning. This is so I will not lose my speed and power.”
Super lightweight option
On what kind of shape he’ll be in during the year he turns 45, Pacquiao stated: “For someone my age, I’m still moving like 30 years old, 20 years old.
“This is a grace from God, amazing grace.”
Concluding who he might face when he campaigns inside the ropes again, Pacquiao said: “We’re still negotiating right now, so I do not want to preempt it.
Several realistic opponents at both 140 and 147 are being considered. Adrien Broner has already thrown his hat into the ring for a catchweight.
However, Pacquiao has already beaten Broner in much better shape than the four-weight ruler is right now.
Stepping down to super lightweight is a solid option for Pacquiao after the belts split wide open. Any of the current champions, Regis Prograis, Subriel Matias, or Alberto Puello, would undoubtedly be of interest after a warm-up.
Pacquiao already holds the record for the oldest champion at 147. Stepping down to 140 would open another record-breaking opportunity.