By: Sean Crose
Manny Pacquiao is planning to return to the ring in the first part of 2020. As things stand, the iconic fighter – who is also a Filipino Senator – will be slipping in between the ropes again in either March of April of next year. It will have been over a full six months since Pacquiao surprised many by besting WBA world welterweight champion Keith Thurman last July, but Pacquiao’s extremely busy schedule doesn’t allow the iconic boxer to ply his trade as frequently as some may like. Still, Pacquiao, who is now in his forties, is on quite a hot streak.
Before the Thurman fight, the forty year old was essentially seen as yesterday’s news, an aging lion who, while still entertaining, was well past his prime. Pacquiao’s performance against the hard hitting Floridian known as One Time changed all that. After sending Thurman to the mat in unexpected and blistering fashion in the first round, Pacquiao continued along through the full twelve round match to earn himself a hard earned decision win, a new title belt, and the renewed appreciation of fight fans. All of this led to the obvious question of who next, and when?
Although the first question has yet to be answered, fans at least now know roughly when to see the fighter from General Santos City in the ring again. Pacquiao is likely to face either Mikey Garcia or Danny Garcia, two big names who also happen to be considerable draws. Mikey Garcia made his welterweight debut earlier this year, but found that he was no match for the considerably bigger Errol Spence Jr. Danny Garcia, on the other hand, is a former champion who is exciting and who is comfortable on the big stage. A fight with either man would likely please most fans.
Some, though, are questioning whether Pacquiao’s age and lack of ring activity are going to take their toll in his next bout.
Forbes Magazine, in particular, has questioned whether at 41 years of age and a full half year out of the ring, Pacquiao will be able to handle himself the way he did last summer. Then again, most didn’t feel Pacquiao would perform as well as he did last summer, either, least of all Keith Thurman. Surely Pacquiao feels he can prove the experts wrong again when he returns to the fight game next year.
In truth, Pacquiao could retire now and the fight world would owe him nothing but praise. He’s faced a who’s who of top level, famous foes, and has come up on top far more often than he hasn’t. What’s more, the man might be credited with taking boxing out of the doldrums back in the early 2000s when he went on an amazing run, starting with a blowout of Oscar De La Hoya and ending years later. Pacquiao’s match with Floyd Mayweather was the biggest money earner in history, and the man’s subsequent victories have shown that he’s one of those fighters who has simply refused to lie down and fade away.