As Manny Pacquiao turned 37 years old on Thursday, the boxer still hadn’t made a decision regarding his next opponent. Pacquiao will return to the ring on April 9 in Las Vegas in what’s being advertised as the final fight of his career, and three candidates continue to wait for an answer.
Pacquiao was supposed to make an announcement on Dec. 11, but the decision has been delayed with no target date in sight. Timothy Bradley, Amir Khan and Terence Crawford have been noted as the three fighters among whom Pacquiao will choose as an opponent.
While Pacquiao has blown past his latest target date, there is still plenty of time for him to make an announcement. Almost four months remain until Pacquiao’s next fight. His May 2 fight with Floyd Mayweather didn’t become official until Feb. 20, giving the boxers less than two and a half months to prepare. Mayweather had his final fight on Sept. 12, but he didn’t officially announce Andre Berto as his opponent until a little over a month before they were scheduled to meet.
Crawford might be the best option for Pacquiao to face, though he has the least amount of fame at just 28 years old. He last fought on Oct. 24, and he’s willing to wait for Pacquiao to make his final decision.
"We are waiting. I'm possibly going to fight again in February or March. If Pacquiao happens, it would then be in April if not earlier," Crawford told Fox Deportes. "[The Pacquiao fight is] what I want and Pacquiao would give me the momentum [to become a superstar]."
Bradley has been viewed as the heavy favorite to get the fight, and the two sides have reportedly had discussions about the purse in a potential fight. A bout between Bradley and Pacquiao would be the rubber match between the two boxers, who met in 2012 and 2014.
Khan is considered to be the biggest longshot of the three to get a chance at facing Pacquiao, but trainer Freddie Roach tells Fight Hub TV that Khan is the toughest potential opponent.
“Amir is the toughest fighter out of those because of the speed factor,” Roach said. “They both have speed and they know each other. They’ve sparred before. Crawford’s not ready for Manny yet, I feel. Crawford’s a good prospect, don’t get me wrong. He’s a good fighter, but he’s not ready for Manny yet. He needs a little more experience.”
Bradley last fought on Nov. 7 when he defeated Brandon Rios to retain the WBO welterweight title, which Pacquiao lost to Mayweather in May. Khan hasn’t fought since he won on May 29 against Chris Algieri, whom Pacquiao defeated to get his last victory.