Manny Pacquiao’s shoulder injury has prevented him from fighting in the second half of 2015, and he’s looking to get back in the ring in five months. The Filipino boxer is considering a couple of opponents for his return in 2016, which could be his final fight.
According to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, Amir Khan and Terence Crawford are on the short list of boxers who could potentially fight Pacquiao. PacMan is looking to make his return on April 9, a little more than 11 months after his most recent fight.
Crawford is currently fighting as a junior welterweight, but he makes sense as Pacquiao’s next opponent. The 28-year-old champion has emerged as one of boxing’s best young fighters, going 27-0 to begin his career. Crawford dominated Dierry Jean with a 10th-round knockout on Oct. 24, gaining even more recognition as one of the sport’s rising stars. Crawford’s style could make for an entertaining bout, since he's knocked out 19 of his 27 opponents.
Amir Khan is also in the running to fight Pacquiao. It looked like the Brit would fight Floyd Mayweather at some point over the last two years, but he’s missed his chance now that the undefeated welterweight has retired. Khan has won five fights in a row, including his last three at welterweight, making him a logical opponent for Pacquiao.
But there is no guarantee that Khan will get his shot at Pacquiao, despite some reports. Arum has emphatically denied a Daily Mail report that claimed Khan and Pacquiao had reached an agreement to fight on April 9, 2016.
"I haven't sent a contract to him. We haven't sent anything to him," Arum told ESPN.com on Tuesday. This is [expletive] ridiculous. There is no deal. There is no contract. There has been no decision whatsoever."
Khan’s father and mentor even told the Daily Mail that the two boxers would fight in the U.S., in response to speculation that the bout might be held in Dubai. But it appears that Pacquiao still doesn’t know who he is fighting next.
"Top Rank will send a contract to one of them when Manny makes his decision on who he wants to fight. Right now, what we are doing is trying to decide between Crawford and Khan for April 9,” Arum continued. “I don't know what Khan said he signed. Don't I have the right to draw up a contract with either guy? I don't know who Manny wants to fight."
Pacquiao last fought on May 2 when he was defeated by Mayweather in a unanimous decision. The southpaw revealed after the fight that he was suffering from a torn right rotator cuff, and he underwent surgery less than a week later.
Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach told International Business Times in August that he wanted Pacquiao to fight up-and-coming welterweight Danny Garcia. Roach also stated he wanted Pacquiao to have a tune-up fight to test out his shoulder, which Roach said was progressing "fine."
The initial prognosis indicated that Pacquiao would miss between nine months and a year, and he appears to be healing on schedule. Last month, Pacquiao said his shoulder was 80-90 percent healed and that he expected to begin training in November or December.