Even at the age of 44, Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao insists that he’s not quite finished and is preparing to come out of retirement for a potential fight in 2024.
Pacquiao was among an army of celebrities that were guests at the much-hyped boxing meets MMA mega-fight between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Speaking to TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport) the only eight-division world champion in the history of boxing said he was in talks to fight former training partner Amir Khan.
“We’re working on it, next year,” said Pacquiao with a smile.
The Pacquiao-Khan fight that has been in the works for years but has never materialized,
Meanwhile, former MMA champion Conor McGregor joined the debate on who Pacquiao would fight next when he revealed that he was also in talks to fight the Filipino legend.
“His Excellency (Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia) set myself and Manny Pacquiao together. There was a discussion, it was close for us to fight in Saudi Arabia about two or three years ago now,” he said in the Daily Mai.
‘I'm sure we’ll pick up from where we left off.”
Pacquiao, who has moved into politics and was in the race for the Presidency, has a stunning record of 62 wins from 72 fights, including 39 wins by KO.
He has also won major world titles but has not fought since his unanimous decision defeat to Cuban Yordenis Ugás on August 21, 2021.
“Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom and UFC have a deal so it’s growing. I’m up for anything,” said McGregor.
Pacquiao also revealed of his interest in competing at next year’s Olympic Games in Paris, although it looks like a shot in the dark.
The maximum age for a boxing at the Games is 40 years, but the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has submitted a ‘special request to the IOC to allow Pacquiao to represent the country.
Should he get the green signal, it will be the first time that he will be competing at the quadrennial sporting extravaganza having previously been the flagbearer at the Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony.
“I’m excited about that, I hope they allow me to participate,” Pacquiao told TNT and then in a message to his fans in the UK he added: “Thanks for all your support. Watch, Manny Pacquiao is still active.”
Pacquiao was also bowled over by the Middle East’s traditional hospitality and said: “It’s my first visit here and I’m so happy to be here.
“The place is so nice and the people are so friendly. Thank you for inviting me here and I hope that one day I could fight over here.”
‘Pacman’ also rubbed should with some of the biggest names in sport including Portugal’s football superstar Christiano Rolando, former boxing greats Evander Holyfield and Larry Holmes and Sugar Ray Leonard and American rapper Eminem.
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