When you’re the only eight-division world champion in the history of boxing, with 12 major titles to your name and a record of 62 wins in 71 fights, you’re going to be a man in quite high demand. We are, of course, talking about Manny Pacquiao, the 40-year-old who won the WBA (super) welterweight title earlier this year, when he defeated American Keith Thurman by split decision.
‘Pac-Man’ has since flown back to his native Philippines to continue his senator duties, and although he currently has no plans in the pipeline for a future bout, many boxing fans will hope he returns to the ring in 2020. Of course, Pacquaio has made no such hints of retiring and since he overcame Thurman at Las Vegas’ iconic MGM Grand Garden Arena, names have been bandied about left-right-and-centre for future opponents that wish to take a crack at the legend. Let’s take a look at some of the main contenders.
Errol Spence Jr
He’s the current IBF welterweight champion, having retained his belt on three occasions since winning it from Kell Brook in May 2017. Find the odds for Spence Jr v Porter boxing match and you’ll see that ‘The Truth’ is very much the favourite when the two battle for division unification at Staples Center, Los Angeles on September 28th. But Spence has his mind set on winning this upcoming bout and then taking on ‘Pac-Man’. He told reporters: “You know I am looking for the Manny Pacquiao fight after this. I definitely want Manny Pacquiao. I mean he’s a Hall of Famer. He’s a legend. He fought the best fighters of my era and the past eras. You will never know when Manny Pacquiao is gonna retire, so I definitely want him next.”
The trash-talk in the lead-up to ‘Showtime’ Shawn’s bout with Spence has been pretty tame, but it’s seems anything Spence can do, Porter can do just as well. He has been pretty forthcoming about his next fight and potential match-up after that. “When I beat Errol Spence Jr., it doesn’t mean he’s going away,” said Porter. “He’s still elite. But I’m going to take care of him September 28 and go after Manny Pacquiao. That’s the plan.” The IBF welterweight champion even sparred with ‘Pac-Man’ on two occasions, the first coming back in 2011. As worthy an understudy as anyone, it would be great to see the two do battle.
A holder of multiple world championships in four divisions, Garcia recently faced an opponent we’ve already listed. He jumped up two weight divisions to make his debut as a welterweight and took on Spence for his IBF title. Garcia was totally out of his depth, losing the fight by unanimous decision, but going all the way to round 12 was certainly an experience – and learning curve – for him. “We haven’t decided what we’re going to do, but what I’d like to do is make a fight before the end of the year and then look for a big fight,” Garcia said, continuing: “With someone like Manny Pacquiao. I think that would be my goal, but there are many plans, interesting things to come, the loss to Spence did not close the doors for me at all.”
He may have lost to both Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter in the space of 18 months, but prior to that first defeat, Danny Garcia was unbeaten. The current holder of the WBC Silver welterweight title even fancies his chances over ‘Pac-Man’: “I’ve got that good power in both hands. I’m a good counter-puncher and I’ve got good timing. So, I think those are three things that’ll give Manny Pacquiao hell in his career. And those are three things I possess, so I definitely think that’s a great matchup for me.”
Fans across the globe are hoping that the Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch comes to fruition after years of discussions and negotiations. Reports recently circulated of a video in which ‘Money’ Mayweather can be seen discussing a possible bout – following the announcement that Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr will meet again for part two in Saudi Arabia. Of course, we know by now to take anything Mayweather says (particularly on social media) with a pinch of salt, but it would be great if for old times sake, the two battle it out once more.