Manny Pacquiao will be facing Amir Khan on April 23, according to several news outlets. Pacquiao, who is the current WBO welterweight champion, has been looking for a new competitor since reclaiming his title last November against American boxer Jessie Vargas in a match that went all 12 rounds. Pacquiao and Khan both confirmed the upcoming bout.
Manny Pacquiao had announced his retirement from boxing in April of 2016 after winning the vacated welterweight title in his third fight against American Tim Bradley.
According to the Los Angeles Times, at the time, Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said, “He (Manny) is likely to just call it a day … right now, I’d say there’s a good chance he’s walking away … but would I be shocked if he said he wanted to fight again? No.”
Arum appeared to be right in not making that assumption as just three months later, Pacquiao announced he was returning to the ring to take on Vargas.
When Pacquiao originally left boxing, Manny stated it was to focus his attention on his anticipated political career. Pacquiao was elected to his seat in the Philippines senate in May. According to Yahoo Sports, Manny Pacquiao decided to return to the ring because he missed his day to day boxing routine, and the new politician vowed to find a way to balance both careers. Manny’s win over Jessie Vargas proved he was still athletically capable.
According to the BBC, Pacquiao’s match up with Amir Khan came as a result of Manny’s fans voting on who should be his next opponent. Pacquiao had posted a survey on Twitter and had nearly 45,000 responses with the majority choosing Khan.
Who do you want me to fight next in the UAE?
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) February 12, 2017
Pacquiao posted on Twitter several days ago that he and Khan’s management were trying to come to terms for a fight.
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) February 23, 2017
While the official announcement today was met with mixed response on Pacquiao’s Twitter page, most of his Facebook followers approved of the match up, though everyone is hoping that eventually Manny will once again face Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Amir Khan is a British boxer with a record of 31-4. Pacquiao holds a record of 59-6. Khan has competed in four different weight classes and though he lost his last fight, it was in the middleweight division. Manny Pacquiao has won titles in eight different weight classes. Amir Khan had previously accused Pacquiao of retiring to avoid fighting him.
Though no fight location has been announced just yet, Khan is undoubtedly hoping for the biggest payout of his career. Pacquiao versus Mayweather broke box office records with more than four and a half million pay-per-view buys. Amir may not want to count his chickens before they hatch, however.
Manny’s last fight against Jessie Vargas in November didn’t have the same support his previous fights did, with no help from HBO or Showtime and Floyd Mayweather’s promotion savvy. While promoter Bob Arum had hoped to top 500,000 pay-per-views, Pacquiao versus Vargas only pulled in a little over 300,000 leaving some to wonder if PacMan still has the ability to generate cash.
Sure Pacquiao would rather face Mayweather in the ring again to get a guaranteed payout, but Floyd has expressed no interest in returning to the ring other than his occasional social media bickering back and forth with UFC star Conor McGregor. Manny Pacquiao versus Amir Khan will be a true test of his ability to continue to sell fights. A loss or lack of sales may just force him back into retirement.
[Featured Image by Martin Willetts/Getty Images.]