Shoulder surgery will preclude Manny Pacquiao from having another fight in 2015, but the 20-year veteran will be back in the ring in due time. The boxer is prepared to make his return and take his spot as the most popular athlete in the sport.
"I'm ready to fight, next year. I'm fine," Pacquiao told Viva.co.id while in Indonesia this week.
Pacquiao tore his right rotator cuff after a few weeks into his training camp for his May 2 fight against Floyd Mayweather. Though Mayweather was named the winner in a unanimous decision, Pacquiao has contended that he thought he got the better of his opponent. While the Filipino star has said he's ready for a rematch, Mayweather has scoffed at the idea of giving Pacquiao another fight.
Mayweather has named Andre Berto and Karim Mayfield as potential opponents for his next fight, and his contract with Showtime runs out at the end of the year. With Pacquiao is still a few months away from competing in the ring, his promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, doesn't know who'll stand opposite PacMan when he finally makes his way back into the ring.
"I'm not even thinking about a next fight for Manny unless he comes over (to Los Angeles) and does his rehab," Arum said, via BoxingScene.com.
A lot can happen within the next year, and there are multiple opponents that could make for a good fight with Pacquiao. Amir Khan has asked for his shot against both Pacquiao and Mayweather, and it's looking more and more likely that he will never step in the ring with the fighter that beat Pacquiao on May 2. Khan has won five consecutive fights, most recently beating Chris Algieri, whom Pacquiao beat last November.
If it's championships that Pacquiao is after, a third fight with Timothy Bradley could be in the cards. Pacquiao lost the WBO welterweight belt to Mayweather, who was recently forced to relinquish the title because he didn't pay the required $200,000 sanctioning fee. Timothy Bradley beat Jessie Vargas in a bout for the interim WBO welterweight title on June 27, and he's currently the sole champion.
Bradley and Pacquiao have already fought twice, leaving little demand for a third bout between the two boxers. Bradley was named the winner in their June 2012 fight, but the ruling was highly controversial, and most fans and experts watching thought Pacquiao should've been named the winner. In April of last year, Pacquiao picked up a convincing unanimous decision over Bradley, seemingly ending their rivalry.
Pacquiao is currently the sport's second-biggest draw, but that could change in 2016. Mayweather continues to assert that he will retire after his upcoming fight in September, leaving Pacquiao to be boxing's top star.
Because the May 2 mega-fight was so profitable, Mayweather is the only entertainer in the world that made more money than Pacquiao over the last 12 months.