According to what Bob Arum told Sirius XM on Monday, Manny Pacquiao is not interested in a fight with Terence Crawford no matter what happens between Crawford and Jeff Horn on Saturday, and is instead focused on a return to 135 pounds to face Vasyl Lomachenko at some point.
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KO) last fought in July 2017, his only fight last year, losing a controversial decision to Horn to drop the WBO welterweight title. He returns to the ring on July 14 in Kuala Lumpur, facing Lucas Matthysse in a dangerous welterweight bout.
But there’s been plenty of talk about Manny potentially facing Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KO), who recently stopped Jorge Linares to become a three-division champion.
Lomachenko just underwent shoulder surgery and expects to be back in December, but I don’t think anyone is thinking about Pacquiao-Lomachenko for 2018, more likely 2019.
That said, Pacquiao turns 40 in December and hasn’t fought below 140 pounds since 2008, when he made a one-fight pit stop at lightweight to thrash David Diaz, winning the WBC title. After that, he embarked on his biggest run, defeating Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and Miguel Cotto in his next three outings.
Lomachenko’s team has previously said they’re not really interested in facing Pacquiao, but that could always change, particularly if Manny is willing to shed down to 135 for the fight. In a lot of ways, the matchup is reminiscent of Pacquiao’s fight with De La Hoya.
Oscar hadn’t at welterweight in seven years when he moved down to take on Pacquiao, and a younger, smaller, fresher, faster man ripped him to shreds.
There’d be a lot of talk about legends and whatnot if Pacquiao were to fight Lomachenko. It’d be relatively easy to promote, probably, even considering Manny is past his prime.
But should Manny want to get into the ring with Loma at this stage? I think that’s a legitimate question. Oscar wanted to prove something in 2008 when he faced Pacquiao, who moved up two divisions for the fight. Instead, it was Manny Pacquiao establishing himself as a legitimate superstar in the sport, feasting on the withered shell that was De La Hoya in that encounter.
Would Manny be able to make the weight comfortably? Granted, he’s a small welterweight who probably could’ve fought at 140 for all these years, but 135 is another five pounds to drop at age 40, something he hasn’t done in a decade.
Pacquiao and his team clearly see Lomachenko as someone to fight for honor and legacy (well, and money, but that probably goes without saying).
But is the risk too great? Is the chance of being embarrassed too severe?
If you were advising Pacquiao, would you want him to move down to 135 to fight Lomachenko?