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Pacquiao signs with Rizin

Manny Pacquiao

By Allan Fox: Manny Pacquiao has followed Floyd Mayweather Jr. over to Rizin in signing with them to appear at Rizin 15 on April 21. It’s unclear whether Pacquiao will simply be introduced to the audience at the event of if he’ll fight.

Mayweather recently fought in a Rizin event in defeating Japanese kickboxer Tenhin Nasukawa by a first round knockout in an exhibition match on December 31st that paid him $9 million. While that kind of money isn’t anywhere near what Mayweather can make fighting boxers like Saul Canelo Alvarez, Errol Spence Jr., Terence Crawford and Gennady Golovkin, but there’s no risk involved in Floyd fighting exhibition matches against fighters that don’t have a background in boxing like Nasukawa. Mayweather was heavily criticized by U.S fans for fighting the younger, smaller and totally inexperienced Nasugawa in an exhibition. The criticism doesn’t seem to have dissuaded Mayweather from taking other exhibition matches in the future, because he says he’s not done with them. For the average fans, it’s for them to understand why Mayweather would take a smaller payday in an exhibition compared to what he could get in fighting one of the elite welterweights or middleweights in boxing. The fight that Pacquiao wants is a big money rematch with Mayweather, who beat him by a 12 round decision in the ‘Fight of the Century’ in 2015. Mayweather has shown zero interest in wanting to fight Pacquiao again despite the huge money he could make in doing so. Mayweather would seemingly prefer to take smaller paydays than get inside the ring with Pacquiao again. Mayweather calls himself a businessman, but his decision not to fight Pacquiao again is arguably a huge missed opportunity on his part.

Mayweather obviously doesn’t want to suffer a loss at this point in his life, and mar his perfect 50-0 record. Moreover, at 42, Mayweather’s not likely excited about the thought of taking punishment from the likes of Canelo, GGG, Spence, Thurman or Crawford. If Pacquiao goes down the same street and winds up fighting exhibition matches one after another in Japan, it would be a disappointment to his fans, who want to see him fight the best and then retire. If there continues to be a demand by fans outside of the U.S to see Mayweather and Pacquiao fight exhibition matches, those two could fight these kind of matches into their old age. Boxing great Jack Johnson fought exhibition matches at age 67. Will Pacquiao and Mayweather be fighting exhibition matches into their 60s as well?

It’s quite possible that the 40-year-old Pacquiao could soon be fighting exhibition matches too in Japan, possibly against Nasukawa as well. If not him, it could be someone similar for Pacquiao to fight. It’s unclear why boxing fans in Japan would want to see Pacquiao and Mayweather fight exhibition matches against fighters that don’t have the boxing background to compete against them. Surely at some point the fans will likely lose interest in seeing these type of fights.

It’s unclear how much money Pacquiao will be getting in fighting on the Rizin card on April 21 or if he’s going to fight on that card at all.

It would be interesting if Rizin could bring back a former Japanese boxer like former WBC super featherweight champion Takashi Miura to fight Pacquiao. That would be a fun fight to watch. However, Miura hasn’t fought in two years since his loss to Miguel Berchelt in July 2017, so he’s unlikely to be the opponent for Pacquiao.

Pacquiao is still a world champion in holding down the WBA ‘regular’ welterweight title that he won against Lucas Matthysse in 2018. Pacquiao recently agreed to fight IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. last month on March 16, but it appears that he’s changed his mind about wanting to mix it up with him. Pacquiao has recently been said to be in negotiations with WBA Super World welterweight champion Keith Thurman for a fight this summer. That’s a match that a lot of boxing fans would love to watch. Seeing Pacquiao fight exhibition matches against non-boxers probably won’t interest the average American fans, who don’t have time to watch mismatches. The fans want to see competitive fights.

Pacquiao recently defeated former four division world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision last January. A lot of boxing fans saw that as a cherry picking fight for the Filipino star, as Broner hasn’t won a fight in two years since 2017, and that was a controversial 10 round decision over Adrian Granados in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. Broner’s last true win, without controversy, was against Ashley Theophane in 2016. Pacquiao still gave Broner a title shot, and it looked bad. Pacquiao has won his last two fights against Lucas Matthysse and Broner since losing to Jeff Horn in 2017.

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