Manny Pacquiao quashed all doubts he’s ready to hang up his gloves for good after providing a masterclass in the fistic arts as proven by his a 7th-round stoppage of Lucas Matthyse, his first TKO win since 2009, to claim the WBA World Welterweight belt.
Although the fighting pride of the Philippines answered with vigor some lingering questions about his waning form, humorously, the win provided more queries now more than ever.
Another fight for this year is already in the pipeline, but Pacquiao and his camp “have not decided yet,” on exactly when and who to throw the gauntlet to.
Right now, his focus is “to go back to my country” to perform his duties as a legislator and, “of course, to relax” after the match.
A rematch with Jeff Horn would be the viable next step as the controversial bout in Brisbane last year requires a much-needed closure to curb obvious doubts on how the match ended in favor of the hometown boy.
Pacquiao relinquished his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt to then-undefeated Horn which the Aussie then lost last month via TKO in the 9th round to American Terence Crawford, coincidentally the next man that comes in mind.
The Pacman could have the opportunity to retain the belt but the unblemished current WBO champ Crawford (33-0-0, 24 KOs) stands in his way, a wager the Pacquiao camp should consider high stakes at this point.
According to sports pundits, Pacquiao could also face likes of Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, or Errol Spence, Jr. The name Amir Khan, Pacquiao’s former training partner under Freddie Roach has also been thrown into the fray as a “potential opponent.”
Vasyl Lomachenko is also a viable opponent especially with the comments from Top Rank promoter Bob Arum that he is eyeing Pacquiao as the next option for the current lightweight champion when the Ukrainian returns after a shoulder surgery.
But with the resurgence of the Pacman, an inkling in all of us suggests a “second one” with Floyd Mayweather, Jr., is the best option. That is if Money comes out of retirement once more to face a shoulder-injury-free Manny.
And as Manny challenged: “I have the belt, so it’s up to him.” Your call, Floyd.
But whichever fight Pacquiao takes, it should be about that takes him another step to any boxer’s ultimate goal: Retire with his pride and body intact.
For now, okay, don’t lower the curtain just yet.