PACQUIAO’S FAREWELL TOUR — Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2) seems to be embarking on his final tour, but like the entertainer Cher, “final” doesn’t seem to mean final. After his April 2016 bout with Timothy Bradley where he bankrolled a $20 million purse plus his cut of Filipino TV money, Manny said he was retired “as of now.” Sure he was.
Speaking of Cher, a 2002 Rolling Stone article estimated her wealth at over $600 million. Since then she has embarked on a hugely successful farewell tour that is still going.
The latest from Top Rank (subject to weekly change) has Manny fighting in July and then again in November with Terrence Crawford, Amir Khan, and Adrien Broner possible opponents. His fight with Australian Jeff Horn (16-0-1) Down Under in April somehow got lost in the shuffle, but all of a sudden it has been resuscitated with July 2 the new date. Says Arum, “We’re slowly finishing up the deal to fight…People have agreed on essential points.” The fight, as it now stands, will be in the Aussie’s hometown of Brisbane, most likely at 52,000-seat Suncorp Stadium.
The fight would be the biggest in Australian boxing history. Horn has drawing power offset by a favorable risk-reward equation for Team Pacquiao. In short, he is compelling but not overly risky
Shawn Porter offered former sparring partner Manny a final chance at a major fight before the eight-division world champion retires and wants to replace Horn. But Porter also said he thinks Manny should retire now. Fact is, Porter is all over the place when it comes to Pac Man and is now set to fight Andre Berto. Forget about him.
A potentially lucrative match with an always dangerous but chinny Amir Khan in May in theUnited Arab Emirates.fell apart due to lack of financing leaving the talkative and self-promoting Khan on the outside looking in ,but he will soon find someone else to shamelessly harangue for that big payday.
Arum had mentioned Adrien Broner, Terrance Crawford, and Khan as possibilities for the November fight. Crawford (30-0) is scheduled to face Felix Diaz on May 20. Thus, the beginning of Manny’s World Tour (at least for now) is commencing in Australia.
Arum’s potential scenario
“The word ‘world champion’ should mean something…A world champion is some guy who will go to places he is not familiar with to fight the best fighter in that area. And that’s what he’s doing.” — Arum
An aging (he’s 38) but still scintillating and highly ranked Pacquiao needs to be circumspect about the order of his opponents whomever they turn out to be. Clearly, Crawford is the most dangerous and Manny might want to save him for his “final” act—or, better yet, avoid him altogether. It’s equally clear that Horn (no slouch) is the safest to start with.
Broner would have been more compelling given his recent struggle with Adrian Granados. In fact, against both Horn and Broner, there is a distinct possibility that Pac-Man could finally break his long streak of no stoppage wins dating all the way back to 2009 when he obliterated a prime Miguel Cotto. Since then he has nine wins by decision and a lot of miles on his ring odometer. Moreover, the interest in a Broner fight would be huge—and a promoter’s dream.
Khan might be the next, depending on if and how Manny would solve “The Problem.” Khan’s weak chin always presents the possibility of an abrupt ending and that possibility would whet the appetite of the fans. However, Amir is no “gimme” and could give the Filipino senator serious problems.
At any rate, there are different scenarios that can be sequenced depending on what amount of risk Team Pacquiao wants to take. Moreover, fighting a number of talented fighters consecutively can be draining and make each progressive fight more difficult.
Here are three possible ways to play out Manny’s “Farewell Tour”:
Fight Horn in July.
Fight Argentinian Diego Chaves (25-2-1) in November
Fight Broner in 2018
Most Risky Scenario
Fight Horn in July
Fight Khan in November.
Fight Crawford in 2018.
Fan-friendly and financially rewarding Scenario
Fight Horn in July
Fight Broner in November.
Fight Miguel Cotto in 2018 assuming Cotto wins his intervening fight or fights.
This is not the same Manny who ran roughshod between 2003 and 2011, nor is it the one that stopped Barrera, Morales, De La Hoya, Hatton and Cotto to cement his legacy as an All Time Great. However, it’s still a pretty good and highly ranked Manny who managed to school Timothy Bradley “three” times and punish Brandon Rios, Chris Algieri, and Jesse Vargas.
Ironically, while Mayweather negotiates with McGregor to engage in a disgraceful farce and while former four-time world titleholder 43-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez struggles to find an opponent for a farewell fight in Mexico, Pac Man perseveres and remains the quintessential A Side fighter who can pick and choose as he pretty much chooses..
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Ted Sares is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several records in the Grand Master class. A member of Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame, he enjoys writing about boxing.