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Sports

Will Manny fight again?

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Will Manny fight again?
Manny Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao FB Page

Theres a lot of buzz in boxing circles about eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao making a comeback in a serious fight, not an exhibition, and from whats in the air, it appears that hes not ruling out anything at the moment. The word is Pacquiao will run for Senator in next years elections so if he intends to return to the ring, it has to happen soon before the campaign trail rolls out.

Pacquiao, 45, was set to face Muay Thai legend Buakaw Banchamek at Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi last Saturday but the six-round exhibition was postponed or maybe even cancelled for unclear reasons. The so-calledMatch of Legendswas penciled for six three-minute rounds with two-minute breaks. Promoters said the winner would get a bonus of $300,000 but declined to disclose the amount of appearance fees. The bout wouldve involved international boxing rules with a catchweight of 155 pounds.

After the fight was announced, Pacquiao went back to the gym to start hard-core training with long-time mitts-man Buboy Fernandez. Then, the postponement was announced. It had nothing to do with Buakaw backing out. In fact, Buakaw, 41, signed for another fight in Kobe, Japan and knocked out Japanese-Brazilian Minoru Kimura at 4:10 of the first round in a kickboxing tussle last March 23.

Because Pacquiao remains widely popular around the world, promoters from all over continue to knock on his door. No doubt, hes still in demand globally. A proposal to take on undefeated English contender Conor Benn in London was under serious consideration until the British Boxing Board of Control and UK Anti-Doping refused to lift his suspension for testing positive twice for the banned substance clomifene. Benn was slapped a provisional suspension in 2022 but the ban was lifted by the National Anti-Doping Panel last year.  Benn fueled the British authoritiesscorn by fighting twice in the US in September last year and last February. The British Board subsequently appealed the lifting of the suspension which was later reinstated, leaving Benn out in the cold. Benn, 27, has a 23-0 record, with 14 KOs.

Another proposal is for Pacquiao to take on former four-weight world champion Mikey Garcia in Saudi Arabia. Garcia, 36, totes a 40-2 record, with 30 KOs and hasnt fought since losing a majority 10-round decision to Sandor Martin in Fresno, California, in 2021. He has held the WBO featherweight, WBO superfeatherweight, WBC lightweight and IBF superlightweight titles. Garcia attempted to add the IBF welterweight strap to his collection but lost to Errol Spence on points in Arlington, Texas in 2019.

A rematch with Floyd Mayweather remains in the conversation among boxing aficionados but the undefeated Money Man, now 47, isnt inclined to give Pacquiao a chance for revenge. Pacquiao has often expressed his willingness to face Mayweather once more, particularly since their 2015 duel was inconclusive with the Filipino icon suffering a dislocated shoulder in the fourth round. Despite the injury, Pacquiao went the distance with Mayweather and even as he lost by a unanimous 12-round decision, not a few ringsiders thought he deserved to win. Will Pacquiao be back in the ring this year? It could happen.

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MANNY PACQUIAO

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