The boxing world is still waiting to find out Manny Pacquiao's next opponent when he returns to the ring for perhaps his final fight. The 36-year-old was expected to make an announcement on Friday during truTV’s "MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout," but he remains undecided.
"I was asked to tell you on Bob's behalf that, unfortunately, Top Rank will not have an announcement on truTV as originally planned as Manny is not ready to make a decision on his opponent yet," Arum spokesman Fred Sternburg told ESPN.com.
Pacquiao hasn’t fought since he lost to Floyd Mayweather on May 2 and suffered a torn right rotator cuff. He’s set to fight on April 9 in Las Vegas in what he claims will be the last bout in his long career. According to Arum, he’s considering a fight with Timothy Bradley, Terence Crawford and Amir Khan.
The delay is good news for both Crawford and Khan. Bradley was the frontrunner to fight Pacquaio, and the manager and wife of the WBO welterweight champ indicated that he was nearing an agreement to face the Filipino icon. But for unexplained reasons, Pacquiao isn’t ready to announce Bradley as his final opponent.
A fight with Bradley would certainly be profitable for Pacquiao. Arum says he’s guaranteed to make at least $20 million no matter his opponent, and Bradley would probably be the biggest pay-per-view draw of the three boxers. Pacquiao also knows he would likely be favored against Bradley, having decisively defeated him in April 2014, and after he lost a controversial split decision in June 2012.
There’s a chance that Pacquiao is reconsidering a fight with Khan. The Brit appeared to be the frontrunner to face Pacquiao a few months ago, but promoter Eddie Hearn recently said PacMan had decided against fighting Khan. Khan has been looking to earn a fight with a top welterweight for over two years, and after missing out on a potential bout with Mayweather, he could suffer the same fate with Pacquiao.
Khan could be headed for a fight with IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook, but Hearn has said a deal needs to be made soon.
Crawford would be an interesting choice for Pacquiao. Having dominated the light welterweight division, he’s proven himself to be one of the world’s best pound-for-pound boxers. With an undefeated record and nearly seven years younger than Pacquiao, Crawford probably has the best chance of all three fighters to defeat Pacquiao.
If Pacquiao loses in April and it turns out to be his last fight, he’ll end his career with four defeats in last seven fights. After his controversial loss to Bradley, Pacquiao was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in Dec. 2012. He followed that up with unanimous decision victories against Brandon Rios, Bradley and Chris Algieri.