There’s a lot of uncertainty when it comes to how and when to resume boxing in the Covid-19 world. However, the one sure thing is that fighters and promoters will need big things to recoup some of the time and money lost in the shutdown. That’s why everyone seems to be calling the name of Manny Pacquiao.
Even before the worldwide health crisis, welterweights were lining up for the next crack at the Filipino Icon.
Keith Thurman: “I just don’t see somebody else really giving him a great fight…I also believe I deserve the rematch from being the undefeated welterweight champion at the time.”
Shawn Porter: “I do think that Manny is the more defining fight [for] me as well…He’s also the number one guy on my list.”
Danny Garcia: “In order to become a legend, you’ve gotta beat the legend…for me to get the opportunity to fight him, you know, you’ve gotta beat the legend to be the legend. And that’s how I look at it.”
Mikey Garcia: I look at it [facing Pacquiao] as an opportunity for me to fight very smart and try to counter-punch, very similar to the way Marquez fought Manny…I can use my intelligence, my counter-punching abilities and timing to try and beat and overcome that aggressiveness and power that Manny possesses.”
Manny’s former promoter Bob Arum has recently been aggressive in publicly pushing for a bout between his new king welter, Terence Crawford, and his old one.
“I’ve talked to Manny via Zoom, first time I talked to him face-to-face in a while,” Arum told Philboxing contributor Peter Maniatis in a recent interview. “Manny was getting ready to go bed, it was morning in California, and he is ready to go [against Crawford].
“Manny is ready to do that [Crawford] fight and we’ll try to do that out of the [United States].”
So, why is everyone calling out Pacquiao? Why is there a line to be the one Manny faces when the boxing world gets back to business?
Well, money is one factor. Pacquiao is still one of the preeminent draws in boxing today. Whoever fights Pacquiao will get a sizable payday out of it.
Along with the money, of course, comes the attention. Merely facing Pacquiao elevates a fighter to the next level in terms of marketability. Beating Pacquiao, however, is a career-changer. A fighter with Pacquiao’s scalp in his figurative trophy case instantly becomes a next-level star. And, at 41-years of age, Manny is seen as vulnerable. He’s seen as someone who could be “done” at any moment, aged before every fight.
For the boxing world in general, having Pacquiao back means having a verifiable superstar back. And we all know that verifiable superstars are rare breeds these days in boxing. It should come as no surprise that fighters want to piggyback off his fame and the sport, as a whole, is looking to do the same.
The ball will be in Manny’s court when it comes to when he fights next and against whom. Word is that we’re close to finding all that out.
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