Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao's 2015 fight is still the biggest in boxing history. Pictured: Floyd Mayweather Jr. exchanges punches with Manny Pacquiao during their welterweight unification championship bout, May 2, 2015, at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision. JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images


  • Manny Pacquiao announced his return to training camp earlier this month
  • Pacquiao has not competed since July 2019
  • Ryan Garcia, Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are some of the most interesting options for Pacquiao's return fight

Earlier this month, eight-division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao took to social media to announce that he had returned to training camp and teased a big announcement.

The 43-year old pugilist hasn’t been in the boxing ring since July 2019 when he outgunned Keith Thurman to unify the WBA welterweight titles.

The ensuing COVID-19 pandemic has since kept Pacquiao on the shelf, leading to him being relegated as "Champion in Recess" by the WBA.

With Pacquiao seemingly on track for a return to action this year, perhaps the biggest question is who the Filipino boxing legend will be sharing the ring with.

Here are five of the most intriguing options for Manny Pacquiao’s comeback fight:

Errol Spence Jr.

Errol Spence Jr.
Errol Spence Jr. could be set for his biggest fight yet. In this picture, Spence reacts after knocking out Carlos Ocampo in the first round of a IBF Welterweight Championship bout at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, June 16, 2018. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Errol Spence Jr. is the second--or third--best welterweight in the world right now, depending on who you ask.

In terms of hardware, Spence is the top dog in the division, with the WBC and IBF welterweight titles firmly in his grasp.

For Pacquiao, a fight with Spence presents him with the opportunity of showing that he is indeed still one of the top guys in the game while adding even more gold to his trophy case.

Ryan Garcia

 Ryan Garcia (L) lands a right against Luke Campbell during the WBC Interim Lightweight Title fight at American Airlines Center
Ryan Garcia (L) lands a right against Luke Campbell during the WBC Interim Lightweight Title fight at American Airlines Center Getty Images | Tim Warner

Perhaps no other name has been discussed more in recent weeks than that of undefeated lightweight Ryan Garcia.

The 22-year old phenom has slowly but surely shown the world that he’s more than just a viral video sensation with his recent performances inside the ring, including a TKO win over Luke Campbell to capture the vacant interim WBC lightweight championship.

Now, Garcia is going after the big names, and his prime target is none other than Pacquiao.

A win over Garcia actually does little for Pacquiao’s stock, but it proves that he’s far from anyone’s stepping stone.

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather
Gennady Golovkin believes if the roles were reversed, Floyd Mayweather would not fare well in the octagon. In this picture, Mayweather Jr. (R) avoids a punch from Conor McGregor in the first round of their super welterweight boxing match at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, August 26, 2017. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In 2020, rumblings of a potential Pacquiao vs. Conor McGregor bout were quite strong, and it could only have gotten even stronger, had the latter taken care of business against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 in January.

Unfortunately for fans of the potential big-money fight, McGregor’s loss to Poirier may have doomed the fight for good.

Never say never though, as it could still become a reality later this year. Pacquiao would no doubt be the favorite in this contest, but it’s still a matchup that people would want to see--or at least be curious to check out.

Terence Crawford

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

Terence Crawford is quite possibly the toughest fight for Pacquiao on this list, but it’s also the most intriguing.

Considered the pound-for-pound best in the world today, the unbeaten Crawford has been nothing but dominant since coming up to 147 pounds in 2018, capturing the WBO title and defending it four times since.

A showdown with Pacquiao now appears to be the biggest fight available in the division and could be in the works for 2021.

For Pacquiao, a win over a world-beating opponent like Crawford will boost his status as one of--if not--the best boxer ever.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather steps back from Manny Pacquiao during their title fight in Las Vegas, May 2, 2015. Reuters/Steve Marcus

The Pacquiao-Crawford encounter may be the most intriguing fight on this list, but the fight that most fans actually do want to see is the rematch between the Filipino fistic sensation and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Pacquiao and Mayweather fought back in 2015, with the latter coming away victorious after 12 hard-fought rounds.

Since then, fans have clamored for the two to run it back, but it never materialized even after multiple teases.

Mayweather has since retired and has mainly remained retired, save for a 2017 return to the ring against McGregor.

Pacquiao, meanwhile, continues to be one of the most sought-after names in the sport. If Mayweather will agree to give his Filipino rival a rematch, it gives "Pacman" the opportunity to avenge one of the biggest losses in his career.