More than a year after cruising past DK Yoo in his first exhibition bout since 2002, Manny Pacquiao is officially set to return to the ring against Muay Thai and kickboxing icon Buakaw Banchamek on April 20th in Bangkok.
Per the organizers, the “Match of Legends” will comprise of “six three-minute rounds with two-minute breaks.” No word yet as to broadcast rights, but I’m assuming we’ll get some form of PPV.
The 41-year-old Buakaw, best known under his former ring name of Buakaw Por Pramuk, is among the greatest and most internationally recognized Nak Muay to ever compete. His ongoing 24-year career has seen him rack up more than 240 wins under both Muay Thai and kickboxing rules, including a legendary stint as the terror of K-1 MAX during the 2000s.
He last saw action in November, defeating fellow aging great Saenchai in a bare-knuckle Muay Thai match where neither man seemed truly intent on hurting the other. That might change here, as the press release specifically claims that the winner will receive a hair under $300,000.
As far as exhibition bouts go, it’s a damn sight better than random influencers or mediocre MMA fighters. It still doesn’t figure to be particularly compelling, but it could definitely have been worse.