Manny Pacquiao will return to boxing two years after retirement. But can the former Filipino Senator rule the world again?
At 44, time was already fast running out of time for Pacquiao to land one or two massive fights to end his tenure in the sport.
Linked to a vast rematch with Yordenis Ugas in 2021, it was clear the ‘Pacman’ was holding off for something big after previously dethroning Keith Thurman.
After enjoying one of his best years in 2019, Pacquiao was named WBN Fighter of the Year through a fan vote at www.worldboxingnews.net.
Ready to capitalize on holding a world welterweight title once again, the Filipino Senator wanted big bucks before walking away for good.
Instead, he got Ugas in a lower-key affair. It followed the collapse of a battle with Errol Spence Jr. Shockingly, Pacquiao lost.
Manny Pacquiao unretires
After the Ugas defeat, weeks of waiting turned into months without a revenge agreement. Pacquiao, living on borrowed time, decided to hang them up.
Taking an eighteen-month partly enforced timeout from the sport was already unthinkable for Pacquiao. Then he announced a comeback.
Taking advantage of the fact he was still just as good as anyone out there at 147 pounds would have been critical to any fights against the big boys.
But turning 45 this year, it’s hard to see how that can be the case – especially with the inactivity.
Taking on Floyd Mayweather again remains an option in an exhibition for a further-aged Pacquiao. However, facing the likes of Errol Spence or Terence Crawford in 2023 could prove an impossible task.
The pair are locked in negotiations for a summer battle, tying up all the belts at welterweight. Pacquiao’s only world title option would be to make a comeback at 140.
It was already a tough job. But having a year and a half on the sidelines and then boiling down in weight is a tall order.
Fans will never see Pacquiao in the same form as the Thurman fight. Therefore, super lightweight is the only championship option.
What a sad end to a legendary Hall of Fame stint it could be for one of the greatest fighters ever.
Without a professional run, where should Pacquiao turn to, though? He’s admitted that exhibitions are not enough. A Mayweather-sized offer would stop him from dusting off the gloves.
Regis Prograis, a free agent and WBC champion at 140 seems to be the most logical choice of opponent.