Though superstar Manny Pacquiao has not yet fully or officially endorsed his return to the ring, stating how his senatorial duties will always come first, his promoter Bob Arum is certain Pac-Man’s retirement, which came just three months ago, will end on either October 29 or November 5 in Las Vegas. It has been widely covered by many outlets how the 37-year-old great is expected back on one of these date and all that remains to be worked out (aside from just which Vegas venue will host the fight) is who will be the man in the opposite corner of the ring.
Arum spoke to The Mail and he said that one fighter, who was once a possibility, has now been well and truly crossed off the list: Adrien Broner. According to Arum, Broner has a problem understanding the economics of his sport, asking for as much as, or more than, Pacquiao will get paid. “He’s crazy,” Arum said. So who might it be in October or November?
Reports favour either the Terence Crawford-Viktor Postol winner, which would see Pacquiao return to 140-pounds, or WBO welterweight champ Jessie Vargas, who saw his big money fight with Kell Brook vanish before his eyes recently. Another, more outside possibility, is WBC welterweight king Danny Garcia. But whoever Pac-Man fights in his “comeback” (does it even seem he went away?), it is sure to do big business and attract plenty of fan interest.
According to Jeff Powel of The Mail, Pacquiao’s upcoming fight will go out on HBO pay-per-view in the US, while in the UK, BoxNation and Sky Sports will engage in a “bidding war” to land the rights to the fight. Pacquiao’s popularity and power at the box office have never really diminished and his return, as long as it is a successful one, will see his status as a huge draw remain. If, say, Pacquiao were to defeat the superb Crawford, his greatness would be reconfirmed (not that it needs any reconfirming) and the fans would call for yet another fight from him. Maybe against the “retired” Floyd Mayweather Junior?
If Pacquiao’s Oct/Nov return is a massive event, will Floyd’s own, steal-back-the-limelight comeback be far behind? Fans and experts alike are certain Mayweather will fight again, just as they were sure Pacquiao would box again following his April win over Tim Bradley. Plenty of people are also convinced Mayweather and Pac-Man will meet up in a rematch of their colossal May 2015 money-spinner.
Pacquiao has expressed interest in a sequel, doing so almost as soon as the lopsided decision went against him in “The Fight of The Century.” Mayweather has recently shown more interest in a fight with MMA star Conor McGregor, insisting the Pacquiao chapter of his career “is closed.” But money talks and nobody should rule out a Mayweather-Pacquiao II; whether they want to see it or not.
Mayweather will be watching Pacquiao’s Oct/Nov return closely and he will be checking out the numbers it generates. If his former ring rival’s return causes a sensation, Floyd will be thinking about revisiting a rivalry that captured the attention of the whole world and took well over five years to be settled. A rematch might take a lot less time to come together.