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The return of Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) is targeted on April 14 at New York's Madison Square Garden. The fight is almost finalized and it would be Top Rank's first ESPN pay-per-view event. The card would feature Pacquiao making his New York City debut against an opponent still to be officially named. As previously reported, former WBO junior welterweight champion Mike Alvarado (38-4, 26 KOs) is a leading candidate as opponent for the fight, which Arum would not confirm nor deny.

* * *

The other PPV attraction would be Terence Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) challenging WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs), the Australian boxer who defeated Pacquiao in an upset decision to seize the title before 51,000 plus crowd at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Crawford became undisputed junior welterweight champion, would be making his debut at the tough welterweight class.

* * *

"We're going over contracts with four guys that we handle, and everything's coming along nicely," Arum told LA Times. Pacquiao has been inactive since the upset loss to Horn. The former eight division world champion is concentrating on his duties as a senator in the Philippines. With Alvarado, Pacquiao could grab the opportunity to seize his first knockout victory since 2009, when he stopped Miguel Cotto in a welterweight title match at a catch-weight of 145-pounds. Pacquiao is slated to fight the winner of Crawford vs. Horn title tiff possibly at the end of the year.

* * *

Arum said he was expecting to talk with Pacquiao manager Michael Koncz this week to discuss details regarding the bout. Koncz declined to identify "a front-runner or back-runner" to fight Pacquiao, but told LA Times Monday that he hoped to finalize the deal by this week.

* * *

Alvarado was best remembered when he faced former Pacquiao foe Brandon Rios at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California on October 13. Alvarado was ahead on the judges' scorecards until the 6th round where Rios hurt him with a booming right hand. Rios was able win by TKO as referee Pat Russell stopped the bout at 1:57 of the 7th round. The fight was declared the 2012 Fight of the Year by the Sports Illustrated.

* * *

A much anticipated rematch happened on March 30, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. At stake was the WBO interim light welterweight title. Alvarado defeated Rios by unanimous decision with scores of 115-113, 115-113 and 114-113 to even up the victory score with Rios. On Jan 24, in Alvarado's home town of Denver, Colorado, Rios punished Alvarado for 3 rounds before the referee stopped the fight before the start of the fourth round.

* * *

Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) is planning to face one of the top welterweights of the world by the end of the year as he gets himself ready for a ring comeback. The former unified light-welterweight world champion was inactive since his defeat to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in May 2016, when they fought on a catch-weight of 155-pounds and was knocked out in the sixth round during their encounter at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

* * *

Khan will make his ring return on April 21 in a fight against Phil Lo Greco at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, and has his sights set on welterweight greats like Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and Kell Brook. IBF champion Errol Spence added to his victory over Brook last May his triumph over Lamont Peterson, who won over Khan in 2011, in seven rounds. Keith Thurman defeated Garcia to annex the WBA title to his WBC crown via split decision victory in March last year and is scheduled to climb the ring once again on May 19.

* * *

Garcia stopped Khan in four rounds in 2012 and a fight with Brook has long been planned. Brook will be facing Sergey Rabchenko at light middleweight next month and it may ignite the Brook-Khan fight to happen. But Khan told Omnisport that he wants to concentrate on his coming fight first. "We'll get this fight out of the way and then fight again in August, September time. Then we'll probably get a big one in December. The Brook fight is out there, there's Spence, Thurman, the rematch with Danny Garcia," said Khan. "There are some big fights out there for me so it's all about being smart in there."

* * *

Khan appreciated Spence as a boxer. "He was very impressive, he's a very good fighter. He's probably one of the best welterweights out there. I definitely respect him." He also respected Thurman and the big name welterweights. "You've also got Thurman, who's really good. The welterweight division has got big names in and I respect them all."

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.

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