Pacquiao negotiating comeback, title fight still distant

Manny Pacquiao will fight a boxing exhibition in Saitama, north of Tokyo, next month. (Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)

Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is considering a return to the ring, although a potential world title fight remains uncertain.

AFP reported that the 45-year-old Filipino champion, who retired in 2021, has announced plans for a three-round exhibition bout against Japanese mixed martial artist Chihiro Suzuki next month in Saitama, north of Tokyo.

Speaking in Tokyo, Pacquiao revealed ongoing negotiations to face American Mario Barrios for the WBC welterweight world title.

“We’re still in negotiations and we’re talking about that. The fight has not materialized yet,” Pacquiao stated.

He added that the fight, if it happens, would likely take place in November or December. “There’s still a lot of things to discuss and talk about,” he noted.

Pacquiao’s potential return to professional boxing comes after a series of career shifts, including an unsuccessful bid for the Philippine presidency in 2022 and a recent rejection by the International Olympic Committee for a special request to compete in the Paris Olympics due to the age limit for Olympic boxers being 40.

In December 2022, Pacquiao stepped back into the ring for an exhibition match in Seoul against a South Korean YouTuber.

His upcoming fight with Suzuki on July 28 will feature a 68kg boxing match of three rounds at three minutes each, with no judges’ decision. Pacquiao emphasized that the fight is not merely an exhibition.

“We are looking for a knock-out for this fight,” he asserted. “There’s going to be a lot of action in the ring and of course I’ll do my best to win by knock-out.”

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