Show Me The Money: Manny Pacquiao May Return this Summer in Malaysia
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: March 10, 2018
The return of eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) may be further away than some may have anticipated. Pacquiao was initially to return on April 14 on the undercard of Terence Crawford’s (32-0, 23 KOs) debut in the welterweight division against WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs). Last summer, Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to Horn in Australia in a fight that most observers had him winning. The man known as the “Pac-Man” would have faced Colorado native Mike Alvarado (38-4, 26 KOs). Alvarado is best known for his series of bouts with Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios.
Pacquiao may have felt somewhat offended that the company he has essentially carried on his back for over a decade was willing to put him on the undercard of a fighter he thought he was robbed against. It is unclear as to what the relationship currently is with Top Rank and Pacquiao, but it is evident that for Pacquiao boxing is now secondary to his Senatorial duties in the Philippines.
The latest news coming from Pacquiao out of the Philippines is that he will be fighting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this summer against WBA “Regular” welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs). After Matthysse’s win over Tewa Kiram to win the title, the Argentinean seemed to be the perfect opponent for a returning Pac-Man. According to Pacquiao, there are investors out of Malaysia that are willing to put up the money to stage a Pacquiao-Matthysse fight in the country. For many fans, this news comes as a bit déjà vu.
In 2017, Pacquiao attempted to make a fight with British star Amir Khan in Dubai. At that time there were discussions of a group of investors willing to stage the fight. The difference between now and then is that Top Rank CEO Bob Arum was able to pull up investors and stage a fight in Australia. Fighting Alvarado in Las Vegas on an undercard is not enough to pull the Filipino Senator from his government duties.
Should a fight between Pacquiao and Matthysse come to fruition, it will be the Filipino’s first fight in Asia since he faced Chris Algieri in Macao, China in 2014. This year alone boxing has shown that it is a truly international sport. The World Boxing Super Series will stage its cruiserweight tournament finals between Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. At the end of March WBA and IBF heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua will fight WBO heavyweight champion Joshua Parker in Wales in front of a crowd of over 70,000.
While Pacquiao’s star power has fallen to an all-time low in the United States, there are still plenty of fans around the world who want to see the Filipino in the ring who were not able to when he fought in America. Pacquiao is near the end of his career and at 39 years of age and 20 plus years as a professional with almost 70 fights it may be that Senator will be retired rather than retiring of his own volition. The “Pac-Man” will continue his career as long as short-term incentives of large amounts of money keep being shown to him.
(Feature Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)