Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KOs) turned back the hands of time this past Saturday when he defeated Keith Thurman (29-1, 22KOs) to capture the “real” WBA welterweight championship. Pacquiao, at 40 years old, showed brilliance of his old self and proved to be too much for the younger Thurman, 30, to handle.
Pacquiao started the fight in brilliant fashion, dropping Thurman in the opening round with a right hook. He dominated the majority of the first 6 rounds and it seemed as if he would end the night early. However, Thurman showed the heart of a true champion and rallied back, winning several of the middle rounds. The fight seemed to be swinging in his favor at times, until a Pacquiao body shot hurt Thurman bad in the tenth. The two fighters battled until the final bell, and Pacquiao was awarded a unanimous decision.
With the victory, Pacquiao regained his status as one of the best welterweights in the planet and will have no shortage of future opponents. Currently signed to Premier Boxing Champions, Pacquiao has numerous options on the table. Lets take at look at some of them.
Errol Spence Jr / Shawn Porter
Errol Spence Jr (25-0, 21KOs) and Shawn Porter (30-2-1 17KOs) will square off on September 28th in a unification fight where their IBF and WBC welterweight titles will be on the line. It is a highly intriguing fight that has major implications in the welterweight division, especially for Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao now holds the legitimate WBA welterweight champion and a fight with the winner of the Spence-Porter fight would have 3 world titles on the line. It would also be a highly interesting fight based on styles. Both Spence and Porter are come forward fighters that would inevitably lead to heated exchanges against the Filipino icon. This fight is highly likely to occur, especially with all three fighters being part of the PBC stable.
Danny Garcia / Mikey Garcia
Danny Garcia (35-2, 21KOs) and Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30KOs) are strongly rumored to square off later this year, and the winner would be another viable option for Pacquiao. A fight between the two Garcias would garner a lot of interest and the winner would have momentum on his side to call out the Filipino fighter. It would be an opportunity for either fighter to become a world champion and it would be an opportunity for Pacquiao to add another young scalp to his resume. Style wise, a Pacquiao fight with either Garcia would provide high level action where Manny would have to be extremely careful of Danny’s no-look left hook, and Mikey’s overall ring generalship. However, Pacquiao would probably be the favorite going into the fight with either man and that makes these matchups more probable of happening.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
You knew it was coming.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 27KOs) was ringside for Pacquiao-Thurman and it didn’t take long for the boxing media to start writing about a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch. The two fighters squared off back in 2015, in what was the richest fight in the entire history of combat sports. The fight itself however, did not live up to the hype. At all. Floyd Mayweather tried to control the fight with a jab and occasional right and whole lot of clinching. Pacquiao seemed to think he could just rush in and land on Mayweather without using angles or setups. It was a poor performance from both guys that left a sour taste in the mouths of folks who spent $100 on the pay-per-view. So why on earth would there be rematch?
Well, the fight took place 4 years ago and since then both fighters have remained in the spot light. Floyd Mayweather took part in the second richest fight in history , when he faced Conor Mcgregor in 2017 and Pacquiao has now become a world champion again. Pacquiao is as relevant as he’s been in recent memory and a rematch with Mayweather would generate millions. Maybe not the half a billion dollars their first scrap generated in 2015, but two million pay-per-view buys is certainly possible. That would still make it one of the top 5 most purchased fights ever, and would put a whole lot of money in the pockets of both fighters.
I believe this fight will take place later this year or early 2020. There’s too much money on the line for it not to.
Manny Pacquiao showed that even at 40 years of age, he has enough left in the tank to compete against this generation’s welterweight elite. He has a ton of options on the table but I believe his signing with PBC was ultimately made so that another fight with Mayweather could happen. Fresh off a victory over a world champion and recipient of the WBA world title, Pacquiao is now in prime position to rematch Mayweather. Look for this fight to take place in the near future.