'Kahit sino': Pacquiao has no preference on next foe

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2019 12:53 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino ring legend Manny Pacquiao has plenty of options for the next defense of his WBA (regular) welterweight championship.

Pacquiao had dismantled American Adrien Broner in January to successfully defend the belt that he won from Lucas Matthysse last year, and pronounced himself ready for more challengers.

"Marami naman diyan," Pacquiao said in an interview on ANC's "Headstart" on Wednesday, when asked who was his next opponent. 

"(Keith) Thurman, (Amir) Khan, (Errol) Spence," he said, listing possible foes. "Maraming mga (pwede na kalaban)."

Thurman has a record of 29 wins and no loss, with one no contest. He has won 22 fights by knockout, and currently holds the "super" version of the WBA welterweight belt. 

Khan, of course, is very familiar to Pacquiao as he was the Filipino's former sparring partner back when they were both trained by Freddie Roach.

Spence (24-0) is another unbeaten welterweight, and the holder of the IBF belt.

Asked whom he prefers to fight, Pacquiao shrugged. "Sa akin naman, kahit sino eh," he said.

As of now, however, there are no plans about his next fight.

"Wala pang pinag-usapan ngayon. Hindi pa kami nag-uusap ni Al Haymon, so I don't have an idea," Pacquiao said.

One thing is certain, however: the "Pacman" is always ready for a rematch against American superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Mayweather was in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last January 19 when Pacquiao battered Broner, and was non-responsive when a rematch was mentioned. The American had beaten Pacquiao via unanimous decision when they battled in the "Fight of the Century" in May 2015.

"Depende sa kanya, kasi open naman ako. Kung magbalik siya sa boxing," said Pacquiao. "Laging nagre-retire 'yun eh."

Mayweather fought twice after beating Pacquiao: he trounced Andre Berto in September 2015, retired, then un-retired to battle Conor McGregor in a much-publicized bout in August 2017. Mayweather beat the Irish mixed martial arts star via stoppage. 

On New Year's Eve, he easily dismantled Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in an exhibition match.

Afterward, Mayweather stressed that he remains "retired" from boxing, and has been non-committal when asked about a Pacquiao rematch.

Pacquiao, for his part, admits that his own retirement is imminent even as he keeps himself ready for all challengers.

"Lagi kong sinasabi, boxing is my passion and public service is my mission. Boxing kasi, masaya ako na nagbo-boksing. 'Yun ang nagbibigay sa akin ng kasiyahan," he said. 

"May ano naman 'yan, (may) sign," Pacquiao said of his retirement. "Pag may naramdaman ako. Basta, malapit na rin."

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