Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao is looking at a return to the ring in May Reuters


  • Manny Pacquiao is targeting a return to action in May 
  • Pacquiao says he's looking at Mikey Garcia or Terence Crawford as possible opponents
  • Pacquiao hasn't fought since July 2019

Eight-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has a couple of names in mind for his upcoming return to the boxing ring.

The 42-year old Filipino boxing icon last saw action back in July 2019 when he edged out Keith Thurman to unify the WBA welterweight titles. Since then, Pacquiao has been on the shelf, largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of his inactivity, Pacquiao was recently relegated to “Champion in Recess” by the WBA.

This year, however, it appears Pacquiao is planning on making his highly-anticipated comeback and has his sights set on either Terence Crawford or Mikey Garcia as potential opponents.

Terence Crawford
Terence Crawford is ready to dominate the welterweight division. Pictured: WBO junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford (C) poses with members of his team after his unanimous decision victory over WBC champion Viktor Postol of Ukraine at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 23, 2016. Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Crawford is the reigning WBO welterweight champion, while Garcia is a four-division champion and once held the WBC and IBF lightweight titles.

Pacquiao recently announced that he was back in training camp, and an announcement was coming soon.

“We’re leaning towards Mikey Garcia, but we’re also talking to Crawford,” Pacquiao told Dyan Castillejo, a sports reporter for the Philippine outlet ABS-CBN. “It depends on who I get to face, what’s important is I’m ready.”

Pacquiao also touched on his extended absence from the ring, saying that he has kept himself in shape even during his time away from competition.

“We never really got complacent, we’ve always continuously worked out. We keep on playing basketball aside from boxing. Actually, right after my fight the last time with [Keith] Thurman, I didn’t work out boxing, but I kept playing basketball.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Pacquiao has remained in his home country of the Philippines, where he also serves as a lawmaker. He was elected as a Senator in 2016.

Pacquiao added that he has used more than half of his career earnings to help out the less fortunate and will do so again with the earnings that he’ll be getting in his upcoming fight this year.

“We will keep on giving, we will continue to help as much as we can, even if it's just in small ways. I would love to be able to help everyone out, but our resources are limited, so we’ll do the best that we can, no problem. The only thing that I can assure the people of, is that as long as I can help, I will help, to the best of my abilities,” he stated.

In 2020, Pacquiao was the focus of a number of rumored fights, including ones against Crawford and UFC superstar Conor McGregor.

Ultimately, the Crawford fight fell through, and the undefeated star went on to defend his WBO welterweight championship against Kell Brook.

Ireland's Conor McGregor celebrates his first round TKO victory against American Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout during UFC246 in Las Vegas
Ireland's Conor McGregor celebrates his first round TKO victory against American Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout during UFC246 in Las Vegas GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Steve Marcus

At the start of 2021, the talks of a Pacquiao-McGregor bout were quite prevalent, and because of that, all eyes were on the Irishman’s main event fight against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 in January.

Unfortunately for McGregor, he wound up losing to Poirier by knockout, effectively killing off the momentum of a fight against Pacquiao.

Still, as they say, “Never say never.”