Who should Manny Pacquiao fight next?
By Abu Mahmood: Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2 39 KOs) is not WBA world champion anymore. He was stripped of the belt due to inactivity and Yordenis Ugas (26-4 12 KOs) was promoted to the WBA ‘Super’ champion.
Pacquiao’s last fight came when he fought Keith Thurman (29-1 22 KOs 1NC) in July of 2019. That is a long time to be inactive for and the pandemic has impacted upon a lot of people’s schedules.
So, what can Manny Pacquiao do now? A man that is not ranked in the top 15 by the WBO, WBA, WBC or IBF. He is only ranked at number 3 by the Ring Magazine.
Manny Pacquiao, being the bona fide star that he is, has a plethora of options for his next fight.
The options are as follows:
- Yordenis Ugas
- Errol Spence Jr
- Terence Crawford
- Keith Thurman
- Shawn Porter
- Mikey Garcia
- Kell Brook
- Amir Khan
Yordenis Ugas is the WBA champion and would be the perfect fight for Pacquiao if he wants to try and conquer this division. Ugas is looking ahead to a potential unification bout with Errol Spence Jr (27-0 21 KOs) but if Pacquiao decides he wants to come back and he wants his WBA title back then it would be hard for Ugas to turn down. Both from a financial perspective and the perspective that this would be Ugas’s biggest fight so far in his career.
Errol Spence Jr would also be a great fight for Pacquiao. Albeit a very challenging one. This fight would be great for both fighters. It gives Pacquiao a chance to become a unified world champion again and it gives Spence the chance to have Pacquiao’s name on his record. Spence, who showed little to no sign of ring rust in his comeback fight has been vocal about his desire to fight Pacquiao. If Spence were to beat Pacquiao then it would leave only one opponent who people want Spence to face.
Which brings us to Terence Crawford (37 – 0 28 KOs) who, alongside Spence and Pacquiao, is one of the top welterweights today. This would be a perfect fight for Crawford as he will get a chance to have a very big name on his record. Currently, he needs the Pacquiao fight more than Spence does. A troubled relationship with his promoter, Bob Arum has left both promoter and fighter discontent but maybe if Crawford was to actually get the fight with Pacquiao and then beat him, it would give him the attention many would argue he deserves. This fight would be good for Pacquiao as well as it would then leave him open to a unification clash with Spence, if he were to win and they hype for that fight would be very high if Pacquiao were to show that he still has it.
Keith Thurman has been very vocal about wanting to fight Pacquiao again as he feels he would win this time. Thurman was very confident he would knock out Pacquiao the first time they fought and would probably echo the same sentiment if they were to fight again. For Pacquiao, it would be an exciting comeback fight but that is about it.
Shawn Porter (31-3-1 17 KOs) has been left in the midst of this welterweight division. Offers for him to fight Crawford have been deemed too low and although that would be a great fight for Porter and Crawford. A fight with Pacquiao would be excellent if Porter is not able to get a title shot soon. This fight would be full of fireworks with both men trading shots in what would be a fight of the year contender. The fight with Pacquiao would also give Porter the financial reward he wants. Porter is not a champion so there would be less for Pacquiao to gain from fighting Porter but it would drum up interest for a potential title shot after.
Mikey Garcia (40-1 30 KOs) would not be deemed a good fight. Maybe as a comeback fight but with the weight that Mikey has put on ever since his last fight, it would not do much for Pacquiao except boost him to top 5 positions with the boxing organisations.
Amir Khan (34-5 21 KOs) and Kell Brook (39-3 27 KOs) would really not do much for Pacquiao. Khan and Brook are past their primes and this would be a money fight for them and Pacquiao would stand to lose more than he would gain. Brook and Khan would be better off fighting each other.
Finally, retirement. If Pacquaio were to retire today, he deserves it. A champion in 4 different decades is something that only a true great could do. If Pacquiao decides he wants to hang up the gloves with his last performance being the one against Keith Thurman, then it would be fitting for him.
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