Pacquiao back to the drawing board

Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - January 26, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao will most likely consider other options for his next fight now that his much-talked-about showdown with Conor McGregor lost its luster and appears to be in limbo after the Irish mixed martial arts superstar suffered a shocking loss to American Dustin Poirier two nights ago.

In a stunning upset, Poirier knocked McGregor out in the second round during their lightweight match topbilling the UFC 257 “Fight Island” card last Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

Though McGregor is still open to facing Pacquiao, his stinging defeat certainly puts a big question mark on a potential megabuck duel with the eight-division world champion.

In the wake of McGrefor’s debacle, Pacquiao is expected to go back to the drawing board and explore other avenues for his long delayed ring comeback.

Pacquiao hasn’t fought since beating Keith Thurman by unanimous decision to become the unified WBA welterweight champion in July 2019.

One of Pacquiao’s main options is a three-belt unification bout with the unbeaten IBF and WBC welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr.

It would not be difficult to arrange the match-up since both Pacquiao and Spence are connected with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).

Also, Spence has already expressed his intent to slug it out with the fighting Filipino senator.

“It’s really up to Pacquiao,” Spence earlier replied when asked about a possible face-off with Pacquiao.

While Spence seems to be the front-runner, the 42-year-old Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KOs) may opt to battle the undefeated lightweight contender Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18KOs).

Garcia was impressive in his previous fight, stopping Luke Campbell in the seventh round to grab the WBC interim lightweight crown last January 2.

As per Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, the camps of Pacquiao and Garcia are currently engaged in a preliminary talks despite their gap in weights.

“There are talks regarding a potential bout between Ryan Garcia and Manny Pacquiao. Preliminary discussions at this stage. Pacquiao, 42, hasn’t competed since victory over Keith Thurman in July 2019. He remains a champion at 147 pounds. Garcia at 135,” Coppinger tweeted.

Aside from Spence and Garcia, the unbeaten WBO 147-pound king Terence Crawford is also in the mix as Pacquiao’s probable opponent.

For now, nothing is definite yet. Everything remains to be seen as to what’s in store for Pacquiao in the future.

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