Manny Pacquiao has done it all inside the boxing. The Pacman is the only eight-division world champion in the sport of boxing, the first boxer to win five lineal titles and a 12-time major world champion. There is nothing left to accomplish, much more to prove for the fighting Filipino senator. Well,perhaps except beating Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather and Pacquiao was one of the biggest rivalry in boxing and the two finally shared the same ring in May 2015 in what was dubbed the Fight of the Century. The fight was a dud and failed to live up to its lofty billing. Mayweather easily outpointed Pacquiao while the Pacman claimed that he was hampered by a shoulder injury that he did not declare during a pre-fight questionnaire. Regardless, everyone was disappointed except the two who made hundreds of millions of dollars in what still stands as the richest fight in boxing history.
Nearly four years later, Manny Pacquiao is still looking for closure or at least he’s looking for another big payday. He’s called out Floyd several times after the bout but to no avail. Mayweather has continued to insist that he is happily retired and enjoying his spoils. But after agreeing to fight MMA star Conor McGregor in a boxing match last year, Mayweather has left the door open for a rematch with the Filipino ring destroyer.
The two met at a music festival in Japan late last year and both drummed up a possible rematch. That got some of their fans excited, others angered. But Mayweather ended up fighting a Japanese kickboxer at the year’s end while Pacquiao signed with Al Haymon and fought Adrien Broner last January. Mayweather has since remained mum while Pacquiao has been linked to a showdown with Keith Thurman, the former WBA and WBC 147-pound champion. Thurman has also called out Pacquiao and with both fighter being promoted by the same man, is Thurman going to be Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent?
Pacquiao’s Next Fight
Earlier this month, Pacquiao representative Sean Gibbons told reporters that the Filipino’s next opponent will either be Keith Thurman or Danny Garcia. Thurman is coming off a January 26 unanimous decision win over Josesito Lopez while Garcia is scheduled to fight Adrian Granados on April 20, 2019.
Making a fight with either Thurman or Garcia won’t be difficult because both fighters are signed with the Premier Boxing Champions which was founded by Al Haymon. It can be recalled that in October 2018, Manny Pacquiao signed a promotional contract with Haymon and although his ultimate goal in doing that was securing a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr., that now leaves the door wide open for a possible showdown with Thurman or Garcia.
We’ve seen Pacquiao try to lure Mayweather to a rematch. Last year, the two met in Japan and told reporters that they would be fighting a second time. However, Mayweather ended up fighting young kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in what turned out to be a gross mismatch. Pacquiao wound up fighting Adrien Broner last January 19th, beating the former Mayweather protege in a one-sided decision.
The fate of the Mayweather rematch, if there is indeed one, is still up in the air. Mayweather sounded serious when he said last year that the rematch would happen. But earlier this month, the undefeated former pound for pound king didn’t sound like he is still interested in fighting Pacquiao again:
As for Pacquiao, he knows that his time is almost up and he is making the most of it by maximizing his earning potentials. Instead of waiting for a fight that may never happen at all, Pacman is carefully picking his opponents, hoping to extend his career while at the same time making the most money. He wants that Floyd rematch but is willing to take other fights if that isn’t possible.
What’s With Rizin?
In a surprise move, Manny Pacquiao signed a deal with RIZIN Fighting Federation. RIZIN founder Nobuyuki Sakakibara recently flew over to the Philippines where he and Pacman agreed to what he called a “promotional deal”. According to the Japanese Times, Pacquiao will be a special guest at RIZIN 15 on April 21, 2019 at Yokohama Arena in Japan. The event will be headlined by the return of Tenshin Nasukawa who will be facing Filipino Fritz Biagtan in a kickboxing bout.
As to what Pacman’s actual role will be, that remains to be seen. But the fact that he signed a contract with RIZIN to be in a main event where the Japanese kickboxer whom Floyd Mayweather knocked out last December will be facing a fellow Filipino has left nothing to the imagination.
There are plenty of insinuations and assumptions about what Pacquiao is going to do at RIZIN but everything is plain speculation right now. What some quarters are saying is that Pacquiao’s deal with Nobuyuki Sakakibara doesn’t involve a fight. But knowing Manny Pacquiao’ instincts, you’ll never know really.One thing’s sure though. Pacman is under contract with PBC. So in all probability, his next fight will be inside the boxing ring.
Pacquiao has fought five times since losing to Mayweather. Except for Timothy Bradley Jr., none of his opponents during this period were top level fighters. Pacman fought Brandon Rios, Jessie Vargas, Jeff Horn and Lucas Matthysse. All are former world champions but not in the A-level. Manny’s team has been picky about his post-Mayweather opponents because in order for the hope of the rematch to stay alive, Pacman must keep on winning.
If Pacman really wanted to come back for the love of fighting, he could have signed to fight Terence Crawford Jr. or Errol Spence Jr., two fighters considered as belonging to the top echelon 147 pound fighters today. But Pacman has nothing more to prove and appears to be staying away from the top guns of welterweight. But isn’t Keith Thurman supposed to be the top welterweight today?
Some people are counting Thurman out after his poor outing against Josesito Lopez. But I don’t think that’s why Pacman may be interested in him. Thurman is a pretty good offensive fighter with good punching power but he isn’t as crafty as Crawford or Spence, especially on defense. Remember how a southpaw in Luis Collazo also put Thurman in trouble? Thurman was also supposed to be the hardest hitting welterweight but Lopez just walked through his punches after slowing him down. Using those flaws, I think Pacquiao has a better chance at beating Thurman than either Spence or Crawford. And I think that’s why Thurman’s name is in Team Pacman’s list. He is the most vulnerable of the three. If you ask me, he’s a good choice, really.
Does Thurman Want It?
As for Thurman, I’m not sure what he thinks of the 8-division world champion. Prior to his fight with Danny Garcia last year, Thurman dismissed the idea of fighting Pacquiao, saying that the Filipino ring icon is “dying out”. But after Thurman’s win over Josesito Lopez last January, Thurman was singing a different tune.
So after calling Manny Pacquiao an afterthought a year ago, Thurman is now saying that he would love an opportunity to fight a legend. Right. Thurman doesn’t have anything booked or planned yet. While he is entertaining the thought of fighting Manny Pacquiao, One Time is also looking at the possibility of fighting Shawn Porter again.
Thurman already beat Porter via unanimous decision in an exciting fight in 2016 but after the latter won the vacant WBC welterweight title recently, Thurman wants a run back- not so because of Porter but because he wants his old belt back. It can be recalled that Thurman added the WBC belt to his WBA title when he defeated Danny Garcia. However, he was forced to relinquish both belts after taking a long layoff due to injuries.
But while fighting Porter would be nostalgic, facing Pacquiao would mean the biggest payday of his boxing career. Although Manny Pacquiao is past his prime, he remains a big draw and a fight with him is always a big money fight. Thurman has been champion since 2013, but he’s not faced a marquee name like Pacquiao who can give him his biggest paycheck ever.
Because there are no promotional hindrances here, a Pacquiao vs Thurman fight can be easily made if both camps really want it. Keith Thurman has plenty of options but the opportunity to retire a legend while earning the biggest pay of his career may be too good to pass up on. As for Pacquiao, there may be no more Mayweather rematch out there. If he wants to go out on a high note, this may be the best non-Mayweather fight for him out there.