How does Manny Pacquiao match up with fighters in the PBC?
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: October 27, 2018
2018 has been a year that has brought many significant changes to the sport of boxing. One of which was something that most boxing fans would have bet money that it would never take place. Earlier this month it was announced that former eight-division world champion and current WBA “regular” welterweight (147) champion Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) would join Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) as he signed a deal with mysterious boxing adviser Al Haymon.
Haymon is best known for his work with the PBC and for being the longtime adviser to future Hall-of-Famer Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 27 KOs). It seems almost surreal to see Pacquiao under the Haymon banner as he spent years with promotional rival Top Rank. Over the last year just like the sport of boxing in general, Pacquiao has made changes to his team that has steered the course of his career in another direction. In his last fight, Pacquiao faced Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs) for the WBA “regular” welterweight championship. While the Filipino Senator worked with Top Rank on the distribution and broadcasting of the bout as it was shown on the ESPN+ app, the match was promoted by Pacquiao’s MP Promotions and Matthysse’s promoter, Golden Boy Promotions. Pacquiao also left longtime established trainer Freddie Roach and used his childhood friend Buboy Fernandez to train him. Without Roach, Pacquiao was able to score his first stoppage victory in almost ten years as he knocked down the power punching Argentinian three times en route to a seventh-round technical knockout.
For many, the bout with Matthysse signified that Pacquiao was not done with boxing and could continue his career successfully. Others saw the fight as a mirage. Matthysse may have been the perfect opponent for an aging Pacquiao to look good against while winning a world title. By the time Pacquiao steps back in the ring in 2019, he will be 40-years of age. Depending on how Haymon decides to maneuver Pacquiao’s career from this point he could end up as nothing more than a name for his fighters in the welterweight division or he can have the Filipino take on lesser competition to extend his career further while making substantial paydays. It would seem unlikely that a business manager as savvy as Haymon would sign Pacquiao just to have him beat up on by his team of fighters. While Pacquiao is not close to the box office monster, he was earlier this decade he can still pull in large numbers of people to watch him fight as evident by his bout with Australia’s Jeff Horn (18-1-1, 12 KOs) in 2017. Pacquiao-Horn averaged about 3.1 million viewers with a peak audience of 4.4 million making it the most viewed boxing telecast since 2006. Ironically, the Pacquiao-Horn bout may have been the catalyst that led to the Filipino southpaw signing with Haymon as Pacquiao felt he was set up to lose against Horn.
Boxing matches are not won on paper and at what will be 40-years of age many will be wondering just how Pacquiao will do against some of the elite fighters at welterweight that fall under the PBC umbrella.
Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs)
The latest round of rumor and innuendo is that Pacquiao’s first fight under the PBC banner will be against former four-division world champion Adrien Broner. Broner in his last two bouts has not come away with a victory, losing a clear unanimous decision to Mikey Garcia in July of 2017 and earlier this year he fought to a draw with former Pacquiao opponent Jessie Vargas. Broner at times in the past has looked the part of an elite fighter but has never truly realized his full potential. Against Pacquiao, Broner should be at his absolute best to provide Pacquiao with a competitive fight. However, even with Pacquiao being 40 years old by the time he stepped in the ring against Broner, most fans and pundits would favor the veteran Filipino.
Pacquiao has stated to press in the Philippines that a bout with Broner is about 90% done. The rumors have it that Pacquiao-Broner is likely to take place on either the 19th or 12th of January and it could be broadcast on FOX or on a FOX pay-per-view. Premier Boxing Champions recently signed a multi-year deal with FOX that will begin this December.
Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs)
The one man that was likely jumping for joy when he heard Pacquiao would now be part of the PBC is Florida’s Keith “One Time” Thurman. The Floridian currently holds the “Super” version of the WBA welterweight title and could be one of the next in line to face Pacquiao. Thurman as of late has had a stop and go career. The last time fans saw Thurman in the squared circle was in March of 2017 in a unification bout with Danny Garcia (34-2, 20 KOs). Thurman won a split decision against Garcia and has been marred with injuries since then. At 29, Thurman is one of the most entertaining and loquacious speakers in all of the sport; however, his momentum after victories has been constantly halted not allowing him to cross over into the public consciousness.
Thurman has been looking for an opponent to make his ring return against and while facing lower tier competition may be decent enough to gauge how injuries have affected him, it will not garner the attention that a bout with Pacquiao will. If there is any time for Thurman to fight Pacquiao, it is at the present moment. The Filipino Senator will be over ten years older than Thurman and the man known, as “One Time” would be favored to defeat Pacquiao.
Thurman-Pacquiao would garner a massive amount of attention in the boxing world providing fans with a fight they thought they would never see and determine the true WBA welterweight champion.
Shawn Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs)
Two-time welterweight champion and current WBC welterweight champion Shawn “Showtime” Porter is coming off of the most significant victory of his career after winning a unanimous decision over Danny Garcia in September. In Pacquiao’s prime during his meteoric rise to the top of the sport, Porter would spar with the Filipino to get him ready for some of his biggest bouts. In many respects, Porter and Pacquiao may know each other more than any other welterweight. A bout between the two men could provide fireworks throughout.
Porter being the younger fighter will be able to push the pace of a fight against Pacquiao and rough him up in a similar style to Jeff Horn. The Ohio native tends to smother his own work when on the inside which would give the Filipino opportunities to land his patented right hook and uppercuts. At this point, Porter should be the favorite against the aging legend; however even past his prime stylistically Pacquiao could come away with a win.
Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs)
This era’s welterweight boogeyman has already been placed as the best in the division by a large segment of fans. Spence has looked the part when inside the squared circle, however, the Texas native has not been the most active of fighters as of late. Spence first won his IBF welterweight title in 2017 when he traveled to the United Kingdom and took down Kell Brook via 11th round knockout. Since winning the title, Spence has made two successful title defenses against Lamont Peterson and his mandatory Carlos Ocampo. The bout with Ocampo lasted only one round this past June, and he has not been back in the ring since that time.
Most fans want to see Spence take on WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) to determine not only the best at welterweight, but sans Vasiliy Lomachenko the best fighter in the world. There are rumors that a bout between Spence and current lightweight champion Mikey Garcia is in the works to take place this February. The Texas southpaw would be the overwhelming favorite over Garcia and should he face Pacquiao he would also be the favorite to win. Spence looks like he has the tools to be the best in the division and a fight with Pacquiao could put Spence further into the sports world’s consciousness.
Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs)
The current unified WBC/IBF lightweight champion Mikey Garcia has made it known that he wants to compete in the welterweight division. A future bout with Errol Spence seems to be in the works, but a bout against Pacquiao has some background and history that could make it a vastly bigger match. Garcia’s current trainer is Robert Garcia who has a history with Pacquiao having faced the Hall-of-Famer twice to no avail.
The bout would also add to the legacy of the reasonably new rivalry between Mexico and the Philippines. The two men at this time would be the smallest of all the top welterweights. It would make sense for Garcia’s first fight in a new division to be against one of the three fighters (Mikey Garcia, Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez) to have won titles at featherweight (126), super featherweight (130), lightweight (135) and super lightweight (140).
For many fans, Garcia reminds them of Pacquiao’s greatest rival, Juan Manuel Marquez. Should a Pacquiao-Garcia bout take place and match the intensity of Pacquiao’s classic fights with Marquez it would be a fitting ending tribute for Pacquiao and an opportunity for Garcia to cement his legacy further to head into the Hall-of-Fame.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 27 KOs)
The fight that made the most money in boxing history could see a rematch take place in 2019. This past September Pacquiao and Mayweather ran into each other at a nightclub in Japan leading Mayweather to announce a rematch between the two to take place sometime in the near future.
There are not many fans that are anticipating a rematch between Mayweather and Pacquiao, however, with the amount of money the first bout made it seems that a rematch was inevitable. While Mayweather won a unanimous decision in their first meeting in 2015 since then, it can be argued that Pacquiao has looked the better of the two against better competition. In a rematch, Mayweather would still be the favorite to win, but certain storylines can be added to market a rematch.
(Featured Photo: Yam G-Jun/AP Photo)