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Manny Pacquiao expected to fight exhibition in 2023 for Rizin

Image: Manny Pacquiao expected to fight exhibition in 2023 for Rizin

By Allan Fox: 44-year-old Manny Pacquiao has made a deal with Rizin Fighting Federation of Japan to fight in 2023 in what is expected to be another exhibition match for the retired former eight-division world champion from the Philippines.

Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) revealed the information about his signing with Rizin on New Years’ eve, but he didn’t say who his opponent will be and what type of fight. Manny last fought on December 11th in an exhibition, beating influencer DK Yoo.

Pacquiao is still hoping 45-year-old Floyd Mayweather Jr will choose to fight him in a rematch, which would likely be an exhibition match if it were to happen. Mayweather is doing strictly exhibition matches now and reportedly making a lot of money despite the lack of enthusiasm from the boxing public in these events.

Pacquiao’s last fight before retiring was against Yordenis Ugas on August 21, 2021, in which he lost by a 12 round unanimous decision with the scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 116-112.

After the fight, Pacquiao complained of his calves cramping up during the contest. He believes that this problem was because of all the running he’d done during training for the contest.

Pacquiao fought well despite the loss and showed that he could continue in the pro ranks, albeit no longer the elite fighter he’d been during his best years.

Moving down in weight to the 140 or 135-lb divisions likely would have extended Pacquiao’s career, but nevertheless, he opted to retire in September 2021.

Pacquiao is likely to take part in an exhibition boxing match following the success of those types of bouts in Japan with Floyd Mayweather,” said Marc Raimondi to ESPN.

“Pacquiao’s rival Mayweather has done two exhibition boxing matches with Rizin, in 2018 and in September. For the latter, Pacquiao was in the front row.”

The still popular Pacquiao is interested in not only fighting a rematch with Mayweather, but also facing IBF, WBA & WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.

For Pacquiao to face Spence, he would need to come out of retirement because the three-belt champion doesn’t do exhibition matches. Pacquiao had been scheduled to face Spence in 2021, but Errol suffered an eye injury, which spoiled the plans for the two to face.

Recently, Spence said he was no longer interested in fighting Pacquiao.

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