Manny Pacquiao has said it himself, he wants to be back in the ring by July the summer of 2020.
Against whom and where is the question.
In a recent ABS-CBN interview, Pacquiao said it could be against Mikey Garcia, Errol Spence or Terrence Crawford, not necessarily in that order. He also revealed there are feelers for him to meet a Mexican possibly Vergil Ortiz and a Canadian (???).
Many observers feel Garcia has the inside track following his decisive but not too impressive win over Jessie Vargas, a former Pacquiao victim.
Also with Eddie Hearn backing him up, there is the juicy prospect of having the Garcia vs. Pacquiao bout held in Saudi Arabia following the successful Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz heavyweight championship rematch late last year.
They said that with Saudi financial support plus the fact that the fight will be streamed live through the sports streaming subscription service DAZN, both fighters are guaranteed a huge purse.
Garcia reportedly was paid $7 million by Hearn in what amounted as a workout against Vargas. Pacquiao stands to bankroll three times or more of that given that he is the defending world champion.
Tempting, to say the least.
But will Pacquiao relish the prospect of fighting one of probably his last few bouts in a faraway land not really noted as a mecca for boxing?
Of course, it will be seen by millions more on cable television and other platforms but there is nothing like fighting in front of thousands of rabid boxing fanatics and partisans.
There are numerous overseas Filipino workers in and around KSA but could many of them afford the gate price considering the humongous venue rental fee as in the Joshua-Ruiz?
Pacquiao has been noted for subsidizing the cost of bringing in supporters to his fights in the USA and Macau in his primmest heydays. Can he sustain that this late in his career?
And there’s Mikey Garcia. Will Manny be motivated enough to fight an opponent who many fans still think has not proven anything at welterweight albeit his recent win over Vargas.
Vargas though solid is just a basic fighter and Manny exposed that much early in their own fight years back than Garcia recently did, taking more rounds to unravel the big Californian.
Experts are saying Garcia is presently fighting ten pounds above his most effective and efficient level. He would be at his best fighting at super lightweight where lucrative bouts could be had against the likes of Josh Taylor, Jose Ramirez and Regis Prograis, even possibly Vasyl Lomachenko.
Hence, at this point, everything is still up the air.
With Errol Spence’s condition still questionable, undefeated WBO champion Terence Crawford who has again expressed his desire to fight Manny in a unification is the next best available option.
Crawford is handled by premier promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank who had deftly steered and guided Pacquiao at the extreme height of his career where he won six of his current world record eight division world championships.
Though acrimony attended their parting of ways in 2017, there is no saying that Arum and Pacquiao could not forge a future working relationship, though now looking at each other from separate camps.
Certainly, no one can count Arum out. Especially now that he is on a roll with Tyson Fury and
possibly Naoya Inoue.
The US has virtually become Pacquiao’s second home since he won his second world title versus Lehlo Lebwaba and he would surely relish fighting his last few bouts back there.
With Arum doing most of the marketing, the Fury vs. Wilder fight which generated merely 300,000 pay per view buys in its first edition, churned out a massive 1.2 million ppv buys in the rematch and probably more had it not been illegally streamed by an estimated ten times the number of legal subscribers.
Arum could again very well pull out a rabbit out of the hat in making the Pacquiao vs. Crawford fight, enabling him to match or even top what Hearn could offer maximum to Manny.
Arum or Hearn: Whom Will the Fountain Bless?
We shall see.