IT’S not Floyd Mayweather Jr. yet for Manny Pacquiao, but at least someone who’s also connected with boxing’s so-called ‘Money Man.’
Former world champion Adrian Broner has suddenly become the frontrunner to be Pacquaio’s next opponent in what is projected as a tune-up fight before he meets Mayweather again in a rematch next year.
The 29-year-old Broner, a former champion in four different weight classes, signed a five-fight, $50 million deal with Floyd Mayweather Promotions last June.
But there are also other big names out there for the 39-year-old Filipino senator, who currently holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title, including former sparring mate Amir Khan, and Keith Thurman.
With no fight deals signed yet, Pacquiao’s rign return may be set for early January, either against Broner or even Mayweather, who last month announced on social media he’s coming out of retirement to fight Pacquiao again this December.
Showtime, which airs Mayweather fights, did confirm talks are ongoing for Pacquiao and Mayweather to meet again following their 2015 title fight that went down as the richest bout ever in boxing history.
But company president Stephen Espinoza believes early next year could be the right timing for Pacquiao and Mayweather to do it again.
“2019 sounds perfect,” he told UK-based newspaper The Sun. “That way I get a little sleep after this event (Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury WBC heavyweight title fight), then we go at Mayweather-Pacquiao 2 right away.
“I do think we will be seeing the rematch, Mayweather-Pacquiao in short order. I understand people doubted it because of the way it was announced, so to speak, in a viral video, but I think that was just Floyd taking advantage of an opportunity in marketing and the way he markets things,” he added.
That doesn’t mean the rematch can be done in a wink of an eye.
“There is a lot that needs to be done, this year would be a big challenge,” said the Showtime executive. “Not that we haven’t pulled off a stuff in a short time. Like we did with Mayweather-McGregor.”