By all accounts, Manny Pacquiao’s next fight will come at some point in early 2021. The opponent hasn’t been set, but speculation has been all over the place. Most recently, the rumor mill has been grinding hard over an increasingly possible big money showcase match against the UFC’s Conor McGregor.
But former Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum wants Manny in the ring with his guy, Terence Crawford, in a key passing of the torch bout that would take the Omaha, Nebraska native to the next level when it comes to marketability. Keith Thurman wants a second crack at the Filipino icon, hoping to avenge a July 2019 points loss. Mikey Garcia has been pining away for a shot at Pacquiao for years. Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia have also expressed interest in a bout. Heck, just about everyone and anyone in the 140-154 lb. range has talked up a Pacquiao bout. It only makes sense that top fighters would be clamoring to meet an aging legend who not only brings money to the table, but also offers a chance at a piggyback ride to next-level stardom.
But the soon-to-be 42-year-old multi-division world champ and first ballot Hall of Famer is calling the shots as to who he fights and when he fights them– and that"s completely appropriate. As a matter of fact, if he wants to turn the last couple of fights of his career and turn them into a farewell tour of sorts, fighting low-risk showcases as he winds down his legendary career, then he has every right to do so. He"s earned that right.
Current IBF/WBC welterweight champ Errol Spence agrees with the above statement and fully supports Pacquiao taking on a money score fight against McGregor, although he"d absolutely love the chance to share the ring with him
“I would like to fight Manny Pacquiao. He"s on his way out so I"d love to have that fight. He"s a living legend, and I"ve never fought someone of that caliber. He"s an icon, a mega-star…and it would send me somewhere else popularity-wise," Spence recently told The Sun newspaper.
“Pacquiao has been in the sport 20-something years, he"s an icon even outside the sport. Everybody knows who Manny Pacquiao is. That would be a great fight for me.
“I don"t blame him [for wanting to fight Conor McGregor], Manny Pacquiao earned that right. He"s earned his right to make his money and fight whoever he wants to fight, because he fought whoever was lined up to fight him.
“I"m not mad at it at all, if I was 40-something and was offered that kind of money to fight Conor McGregor, I"d take the fight too, I don"t blame him."
Spence"s next fight will be against Danny Garcia on December 5 in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Whoever wins that encounter will surely be calling Pacquiao out for a 2021 mega-fight.
But, again, Manny can face whoever he chooses and, in a just world, won"t be diminished a bit by not answering that call.
25 years of answering calls and breaking through barriers is enough to earn a man the right to end his career however he likes, against anyone he wants.