Although there has been a lot of speculation about some names, nobody really knows for sure, except perhaps himself, who could be the next opponent of the multiple former champion and multifaceted Enmanuel “PacMan” Pacquiao -who besides being a boxer, is also an actor, singer and politician-, World Boxing Association Welterweight Super Champion in recess – and undoubtedly the most attractive name among fans-, inactive since July 20th, 2019, when he defeated Keith Thurman by a close split decision at the MGM in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the 147-pound Super belt held up to then by Thurman, who was undefeated with 28-1-0, and 22 KOs.
The possible names mentioned recently by the media are the Californian of Mexican descent and WBC Interim Lightweight Champion, Ryan Garcia (21-0-0, 18 KOs), who is 20 years younger than Pacquiao (42), but ruled out by his weight of 135 lbs. (61.235 kg), which was left behind long ago by the Asian; New York’s Errol Spence, “The Truth”, 27-0, 21 KOs, WBC-IBF Welterweight champion; the third name is Terence “Bud” Crawford, undefeated, from Omaha, Nebraska, No. 1 in the Top Ten, WBO titleholder, with 37-0-0, 28 KOs; and the Californian-Mexican and former three-time World Champion Mikey Garcia, 9 years younger than Pacquiao, whom a few days ago was insistently talked about as an almost certain opponent.
Pacquiao, a living boxing legend, has not said anything and has barely mentioned that he will have a couple of fights this year, without mentioning any names, in a sort of cat-and-mice game (the media and the analysts).
Pacquiao, who has been as successful in politics as he has been in boxing, is a sitting senator in his country’s parliament and is also the president of the Philippine Democratic Party-People’s Power (known as PDP-Laban), of nationalist and social-democratic ideology. These demanding occupations outside the ring are perhaps supposed to have had a negative impact on his main sporting activity, boxing, in which he is considered one of the best in history in a 26-year career started when he was 16 years old.
Hundreds of fans believe that political work is the main reason for his sporadic activity in the last few years, and that these concerns surely take time away from his time at the gym. So much that he has performed only half a dozen times since May 2015, when he lost a decision to Floyd Mayweather — in the misnamed Fight of the Century (misnamed because it really did not meet the expectations it had aroused worldwide), until July two years ago, when, as we noted at the beginning, Pacquiao fought and defeated Thurman.
For the long time away from the ring, he was declared champion in recess, a legal and exceptional measure that applies when a champion, either for legal reasons, health or otherwise, is prevented from defending the belt for a certain period of time, not exceeding six months.
From May 2015 until the bout with Thurman, Manny Pacquiao, we reiterate, has only made 6 fights. In the first of these he faced former world champion Timothy Bradley–third fight for both of them–with balance in his favor 2-1–for the IBO welterweight title on 9/4/16 and then defeated Mexican-American Jessie Vargas by DU on 5/11/16. In July 2017 he traveled to Brisbane, Australia, and lost on points to local Jeff Horn. A year later he went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he whipped Argentine Lucas Mathysse by TKO 7 and after beating Adrien Broner on January 19th, 2019 he went to Las Vegas, Nevada, to take credit for the aforementioned close win over Thurman.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) has reigned at flyweight, super bantamweight, super featherweight, featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight and welterweight (more titles than anyone in history), in four of the best-known organizations (WBA, WBC, WBO, and IBF), plus The Ring’s featherweight, super featherweight and super lightweight.
In that long journey, Pacquiao has fought 39 times in search or in defense of a world belt for a staggering 39 title fights with a positive balance of 21 won by KO, 11 by points, 7 losses, and 2 draws, one with “Dinamita” Marquez and the other with the Dominican Agapito Sánchez.
His first title was the WBC flyweight title against his countryman Chatchai Satakul on 12/14/98. The following year he won the WBC super bantamweight title and then the IBF belt. Two years later, he defeated Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera for the featherweight of The Ring by TKO 11 in November 2003. In a second fight with Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez (they drew the first one), the Filipino won the WBA and IBF featherweight throne in a split decision. They would fight twice more with the Filipino winning in the 3rd and Marquez winning in the 4th, when he landed a hard right hand to the face that sent Pacquiao to the canvas, where he remained unconscious for long and dramatic minutes.
In September 2005 PacMan finished Hector Velasquez in 6 and was crowned WBC super featherweight and The Ring champion, and then won the WBC lightweight belt. After reigning in lightweight and super lightweight, he won the WBO welterweight title and later the WBA super championship in the same division, against Thurman as mentioned above.
That was his most recent fight, when he won the WBA super welterweight belt against Keith Thurman. He won by a close decision, a victory that allowed him to keep the belt currently held by Cuban Yordenis Ugas after the WBA declared the Filipino “Champion in recess”, a legal measure that is taken based on the WBA regulations.