Eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao looks set to end his career with a final farewell fight in April 2016.
Earlier this month Pacquiao signalled that he intended to run for Senate in the May 2016 Philippine elections. He stated that if he were to win a Senate seat that he would retire from boxing.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum confirmed Pacquiao’s decision to USA TODAY Sports. “Manny said to me to at dinner in New York last week that ‘Bob, I’m going to be a senator. I can’t fight any longer as a senator because I can’t be absent [from political office] and this fight has to take place no later than April 9, and it will be my last fight.”
Given that this looks set to be Pacquiao’s final fight it has attracted a lot of attention and in the past few weeks a number of potential opponents have been mentioned. The current and seemingly final list of candidates are; Amir Khan, Timothy Bradley, and Terence Crawford.
Amir Khan has been considered the front-runner for some time now. Bob Arum has also confirmed that Khan’s team are already in negotiations with Pacquiao for the fight.
At one point negotiations appeared to have collapsed when Khan claimed he was pulling out due to Pacquiao stalling. This, however, appears to not have been the case as Arum has stated that he is still in regular contact with Khan’s team.
Many have suggested that Khan would never get the fight as he is working with Al Haymon who is currently being sued by Bob Arum. However, Arum stated that Haymon has no power to veto Khans choice of opponent and that the contract “doesn’t allow Haymon to interfere in making the fight.”
Timothy Bradley is another strong candidate who would relish the opportunity for a rubber match with Pacquiao. Bradley does, however, have a tough task ahead of him in the form of Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios. If he can emerge victorious from their bout on November 7th then there’s a good chance we could see Pacquiao vs Bradley III in 2016.
Junior welterweight champion, Terence Crawford, will need to win in emphatic style against Dierry Jean on Saturday if he wants to be in with a shot at Pacman. Crawford is a boxer that many die hard fight fans would love to see take on Pacquiao but such a fight may, unfortunately, be premature at this time.
According to Arum, the final choice of opponent will be made by Pacquiao “When I tell people that the decision (on the opponent) will be Pacquiao’s to make, people won’t believe me,” said Arum. “But trust me: every decision as to any opponent has always been Pacquiao.”