Pacquiao ‘Out of Retirement’ and Targets Three Massive Fights
Manny Pacquiao is “out of retirement” and has set his sights on three massive fights for his return to the ring, according to the Filipino legend’s agent Sean Gibbons.
Pacquiao, a world champion in eight weight classes, has not contested a professional bout since losing his WBA Super welterweight title to Yordenis Ugas in August 2021. He has, however, kept himself somewhat sharp with a series of lucrative exhibition bouts.
‘Pac Man’ had previously announced his retirement twice during his career, only to come back and win world titles. The third announcement, though, was expected to be final. He was 42 years old when he lost to Ugas and had a burgeoning political career to focus on.
However, the lure of the ring is seemingly proving too much, and Gibbons revealed in an interview with BoxingScene.com that 45-year-old Pacquiao is targeting an imminent return.
“Technically he’s out of retirement,” Gibbons said.
‘He Would Love to Fight Davis and Garcia’
Gibbons then proceeded to put forward two massive names that Pacquiao is targeting after he competes in his latest exhibition fight against muay thai fighter Buakaw Benchamek in Thailand in April.
“He would love to fight Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia. He’s got about a year left. He just wants to fight,” Gibbons revealed. “Manny feels that he’s in tremendous shape. He’s training for this exhibition but hopefully that will lead to something bigger and better. I do [see a pro return for Pacquiao].”
There have been reports that Pacquiao was in talks with old rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. over a possible rematch, this time in an exhibition contest. Mayweather won their ‘Fight of the Century’ bout in May 2015 – a fight that arguably came 10 years too late and after both fighters were past their prime.
However, Gibbons did not name Mayweather as a potential opponent for Pacquaio, and instead name-dropped another fighting superstar.
“One of the fights that people talked about for a long time was Manny Pacquiao versus Conor McGregor,” Gibbons said. “That’s something that will be sensational in Saudi Arabia, let’s go.”
Pacquiao v McGregor in Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia would seem the most likely destination if Pacquiao were to fight McGregor in a crossover bout. The wealthy Arab nation has serious ambitions about becoming a major boxing destination and has already hosted a series of mega-fights.
Anthony Joshua has fought there three times and will do so again in March against Francis Ngannou, who made his boxing debut in Riyadh against WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury.
Fury will also soon return to Saudi Arabia for a historic undisputed bout with IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight title holder Oleksandr Usyk on February 17.
“It will be a good place to do it,” Gibbons explained. “It’s really simple. His Excellency Turki Alalshikh, [the chairman of the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia], loves big events, and he’s putting on the best events. It’s a very intriguing and fun fight bringing two of the biggest names together in combat sports.”
While the prospect of Pacquiao fighting McGregor is a tantalizing one, it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. McGregor, a former two-weight UFC champion, has not fought since a gruesome leg break against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July 2021. The Irishman is expected to make his return to the octagon against Michael Chandler o June 29.
That said, money always talks in combat sports – as Saudi Arabia has already proved many times in recent years – so a lucrative offer could change plans quickly.
Pacquiao is one of the greatest fighters in history and holds several remarkable records. The Filipino is boxing’s first and only eight-weight world champion, winning 12 world titles during his career. He is also the only boxer to hold world titles across four different decades, achieving the feat in the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s.