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Manny Pacquiao to return on December 2

Manny Pacquiao

By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao will be back in the ring on December 2 to defend his newly won WBA World welterweight title against an opponent still to be determined, according to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times.

The date of the fight, which is on a Sunday, suggests that this will be another fight that will be taking place overseas rather than in the United States. This isn’t a surprise to some boxing fans, as it’s been two years since Pacquiao last fought in the U.S in November 2016 against former Top Rank fighter Jessie Vargas.

Depending on how willing Pacquiao is to face a slightly tough opponent for December 2, he can always face the likes of Amir Khan. The British fighter has already gone on record to say he would like to fight Pacquiao. WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia is also an option for Pacquiao, but he’s in a tough situation right now after having told legions of boxing fans that he wants to fight IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in December. If Mikey turns around and faces Pacquiao, he’s going to look horrible in the eyes of the fans for failing to fight Spence after talking the fight up.

Pacquiao won the WBA ‘regular’ welterweight title in beating Lucas Matthysse by a 7th round knockout on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was the first knockout win for the 39-year-old Pacquiao in nine years since his 12th round stoppage win over Miguel Cotto in 2009.

It’s quite possible Pacquiao won’t be back in the States. Pacquiao is now a promotional free agent, which means we probably won’t be seeing him fighting one of his former promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank stable fighters. It doesn’t matter much. The options for Pacquiao would be slim if he were to fight one of Arum’s guys in December, as there would only be Terence Crawford as a viable opponent. Lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko is expected to be fighting WBO lightweight belt holder Raymundo Beltran on December 1 in a unification fight. If Pacquiao did want to fight Lomachenko, he would need to go down to lightweight to make it happen, as the Ukrainian doesn’t wish to move up to welterweight to face him.

Pacquiao looked better than he has in years in beating Matthysse. What was noticibly different about Pacquiao was his new muscular look. He appeared to have put on a lot of muscle for the Matthysse fight, and his physique looked the way it used to back during his best years of his career between 2009 and 2011. If Pacquiao can maintain the muscles he’s put on, he’ll be tough to beat.

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