Manny Pacquiao hasn’t stepped foot in a boxing ring since the “Pac Man” was defeated in 2021 by Yordenis Vargas for the welterweight title.
Now, nearly two years into his second retirement, the 44-year-old has his sights set on lacing the gloves once again and stepping back into the ring, MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons told ESPN. Pacquiao is said to be engaged in fight discussions with Connor Benn, which Gibbons also noted.
When Pacquiao initially bid farewell to boxing, he concluded one of the greatest careers the sport had ever seen. Being one of the most dominant welterweights of all time, while assembling an illustrious 26 years, Pacquiao finished with a 62-8-2 record, earning 39 victories by way of knockout. The proud Philippines native/legend himself also became the only boxer to ever win twelve major titles while fighting in eight different weight classes.
“This is what he’s been doing his whole life, boxing, and he feels like he has a lot left to give in boxing,” Gibbons said. “He wants to fight; doesn’t matter if it’s Conor Benn OR it’s Kell Brook. Manny is a fighter, and it’s what he wants to do: fight.”
But his curtain call from boxing didn’t fare in Pacquiao’s favor. Encountering a series of unfortunate rulings, including a discipline win handed to Jeff Horn on a sliver platter in 2017, Pacquiao appeared to have lost his touch. In 2019, with doubt piling on Pacquiao’s shoulders, he defeated then-31-year-old Keith Thurman, becoming the first at the time to knock him down in just the first round. That served as the major glimmer of hope that Pacquiao still had some juice left in the tank.
Yet, as has been proven countless times, Father Time always catches up. And he comes even quicker when promoter-friendly judges sit ringside.
Pacquiao was last set to face yet another odds-stacking opponent in a prime Errol Spence Jr. — regarded as many as boxing’s best welterweight fighter today. And had Pacquiao done exactly what he did to Thurman, to Spence, boxing enthusiasts would have had a tricky time properly adjusting him on their all-time rankings list.
While Pacquiao has literally nothing left to prove or add to his already cemented legacy. Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) on the other hand, could play the good ole’ Canelo Alvarez card and hunt an out-of-prime Pacquiao — who never fails to go box office — in order to misrepresent his legacy.
With today’s financially favorable nature that welcomes YouTubers, washed-up NBA players and just about anyone who feels the need to claim they’re a boxer, why not snag one final payday, right?