Manny Pacquiao announced his retirement from professional boxing in April but on Tuesday night, his promoter Bob Arum told ESPN that it was a sabbatical, not a permanent retirement. Arum said Pacquiao will return to the ring for a fight in late October or early November.
Rumors have swirled that the Filipino boxer and politician would make a comeback, but Arum’s statement was the first confirmation. No opponent has been finalized as of now, Arum told ESPN, but it would not be Adrien Broner since the amount of money he wanted for the fight was a “crazy number.”
The fight — scheduled for either Oct. 29 or Nov. 5, to avoid clashing with Pacquiao’s senatorial duties — will be the highlight of an HBO pay-per-view event in Las Vegas, Arum said, and added that a venue had yet to be decided. The Mandalay Bay Events Center had been booked for the fight with Oct. 15 as the date in mind, which had to be postponed since the Philippine senate will be discussing the country’s budget at the time.
Pacquiao, who was already a congressman in the Philippines at the time of his last bout, against Timothy Bradley Jr., on April 9, retired after he won that match. He was running for a seat in his country’s senate, which he won, and said he would focus on his job as a senator instead.
Addressing concerns in his native country that his comeback will interfere with his work as senator, Pacquiao put out a statement, which neither confirmed nor denied the comeback fight.
“When I ran for senator … I made a promise to be present in all sessions. I owe it to the people. If I ever decide to fight again, rest assured, it will happen when Congress is on recess so there’s no need for me to go on leave. The entire training will be done in the Philippines to ensure I can attend sessions even while on training camp.”
Possible opponents for the highly anticipated fight include Terence Crawford and Jessie Vargas, according to Arum.