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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Musical chairs for Manny’s foe

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
24 Jan 2018



Sen. Manny Pacquiao is rumored to be returning to the ring in April this year but nothing’s set in stone for the moment. There’s a slot for Pacquiao in the undercard of the Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford mainer at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on April 14 and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum is looking for a suitable opponent to test whether the boxing icon could be ready for a world title shot before the year ends.

Pacquiao, 39, may be up for two more fights before hanging up his gloves for good. The icing on the cake will be for Pacquiao to end his career as a world champion. He hasn’t fought since losing the WBO welterweight crown to Horn in Brisbane last July and there was talk of a comeback bout in China or Dubai. Pacquiao visited China thrice last year and it appeared that a fight in the Mainland would be a natural considering his popularity in the world’s most populous country.

Pacquiao attempted to lure Horn to Manila for a rematch with a $3 Million bait but the Australian refused to oblige, probably thinking he would get a raw deal like the Filipino got in their first meeting. So Horn decided to stake his crown against London’s Gary Corcoran instead for a paltry $750,000 purse. Now, Horn, who’s promoted by Arum, is lined up to face a tough challenger in Crawford and the word is he’ll be paid at least $2 Million, still less than what Pacquiao dangled for a rematch at the Philippine Arena.
****

Crawford, 30, is a former WBO lightweight and IBF/WBC/WBA/WBO superlightweight ruler with a record of 32-0, including 23 KOs. Horn, 29, has a mark of 18-0-1, with 12 KOs. It will be a major step up for Crawford who’s making his debut as a welterweight. Crawford scaled 140 pounds in his most recent outing, a third round stoppage of Julius Indongo last August. The heaviest he’s weighed for a fight was in 2012 when the man called The Hunter halted Andre Gorges at 142 pounds. Since then, Crawford hasn’t weighed more than 140 in 16 fights.

Horn is more of a superwelterweight. He weighed 146 1/4 for Pacquiao and 146 1/2 for Corcoran but struggled on the scales for both fights, losing at least six pounds in 24 hours. He’ll be a lot bigger than Crawford when the bell rings.

As for Pacquiao, his opponent could be either former interim WBO superlightweight champion Mike Alvarado or former IBF/WBA suprlightweight king Amir Khan. Alvarado, 37, is the likely frontrunner. He has a 38-4 record, with 26 KOs, compared to Pacquiao’s 59-7-2, with 38 KOs. Alvarado has won his last four outings, three inside the distance, and raced to a 33-0 record before tasting his first setback in 2012. He has bowed to Juan Manuel Marquez, Ruslan Provodnikov and twice to Pacquiao victim Brandon Rios.
****

Khan, 31, totes a 31-4 record, with 19 KOs, and hasn’t seen action since his devastating knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez in May 2016. Khan is tentatively set to make his comeback in Liverpool on April 21 but if the Pacquiao fight is offered, he’ll surely grab it without batting an eyelash.

There is also talk of Pacquiao facing WBO superfeatherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine but that appears to be out of the question. Lomachenko, 29, has never fought weighing more than 130 pounds in compiling a 10-1 record, with 8 KOs. Pacquiao hasn’t fought weighing less than 140 pounds since scaling 138 for Ricky Hatton in 2009. The highest he has weighed for a fight was 147 against Marquez and Tim Bradley in 2012. Pacquiao lost both bouts. For the showdown to happen, Pacquiao will need to scale down to 140 and Lomachenko to scale up to the same level. Arum said Lomachenko will invade the 135-pound ranks sometime this year and could eventually be ready for Pacquiao at 140. Lomachenko is a master boxer-puncher who retired both Guillermo Rigondeaux and Nicholas Walters on their stools in one-sided fashion.

From all indications, if Pacquiao decides to fight on April 14, it could be against Alvarado. The bout will be historic for Pacquiao since he’s never performed at Madison Square Garden, known as the Mecca. Curiously, his brother Bobby has fought twice at the Garden, beating Kevin Kelley in 2006 and losing to Humberto Soto in 2007. Pacquiao has seen action at the Pyramid in Memphis, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, the Staples Center and Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, the Alamodome in San Antonio, the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Thomas and Mack Center and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas but never in the Big Apple.


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