Pacquiao still deciding on next opponent
By John J. Raspanti
Manny Pacquiao celebrated his 41st birthday a few days ago. The full-time Senator, and part-time world champion,also graduated from the University of Makati, picking up a degree in political science.
After his graduation, Pacquiao had this to say.
“It is never too late to dream bigger dreams,” said Pacquiao. “It is never too late to accomplish our dreams."
Pacquiao has proven, both in the ring and out, that a dreamer can accomplish amazing things. He grew up dirt poor, dropped out of high school, leaving home at 14 because his mother, who was separated from his father, raising five other siblings, wasn’t making enough money to support the family.
He picked up his high school diploma in 2007. By this time, Pacquiao, who began boxing at 16, was already a two-division world champion. Soon came victories over such names as Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, and Timothy Bradley.
2019 was a very special year for Pacquiao. He befuddled Adrien Browner for 12 rounds before facing undefeated WBA welterweight champion, and the much younger, Keith Thurman. Pacquiao entered the fight an underdog and exited the champion. He floored Thurman, withstood a comeback, and won the fight by split decision. He really had no business doing that. Not at forty.
So what’s next? Many have called for his retirement, this writer included. It seems that ain’t happening.
Instead, there’s been talk of him facing four-division titleholder, Mikey Garcia.
“If I would be given the opportunity to fight Manny Pacquiao, that’s the fight I want,” Garcia told "Now and Never" co-hosts Rich Davis and Steve Covino.
Garcia has to get past Jessie Vargas, whom he fights in February 2020, to set up a possible Pacquiao fight. Garcia was soundly defeated by welterweight king, Errol Spence Jr., last March. The bout was his first foray into the welterweight division. He lacked crispness that night, but should look better against Vargas. He better, because Vargas is a good fighter.
Former welterweight champion, Danny Garcia, has also expressed the desire to fight Pacquiao.
“Pac-Man (Pacquiao) or Spence, that’s who we want,” Garcia told SHOWTIME Sports host Brian Custer. "Twenty-twenty is going to be a big year for me.”
Former welterweight champion Garcia has won 35 of 37 fights, scoring 21 knockouts. He was last seen in the ring bashing Adrian Granados for seven rounds in Carson, Ca.
Another former champion, Shawn Porter, has been talking about fighting Pacquiao for months.
I do think that Manny is the more defining fight,” said Porter in an article posted on www.boxingscene.com last week. “He’s also the number one guy on my list.”
So who will Pacquiao fight next? Can he side-step Father Time again? The former champions are talented, so nothing is a given, but nobody should ever underestimate dreamer and world champion, Manny Pacquiao.