Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring in April – and Singapore is vying with Macau and Abu Dhabi to host the fight.
The former WBO world welterweight champion suffered his second consecutive defeat with a sixth-round knockout by Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas on Dec 8 last year, following the loss of his belt on a controversial points decision to unbeaten US fighter Timothy Bradley last June.
Pacquiao’s chief adviser Mike Koncz confirmed on Sunday that the Filipino will return to the ring in April and the fight – against an as yet unnamed opponent – will not be held in the United States.
“We’re not interested in the US for this fight,” Koncz told The Philippine Star.
Pacquiao received a mandatory suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission following his defeat to Marquez, meaning he can’t fight in their territory until March 9, or 90 days after his loss, and isn’t allowed to spar until Feb 7, 60 days after the knockout.
The 34-year-old can box by the second or third week of April and train seven to eight weeks prior to the contest if he fights outside the US.
Manny Pacquiao is knocked down in the third round while taking on Juan Manuel Marquez during their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Dec 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Filipino's camp have confirmed that he will return to the ring in April, with Singapore a possible venue for the fight. (Photo: AFP)
Pacquiao’s lawyer Franklin Gacal said that a bout in Asia would be less heavily taxed than one in the US.
“It’s for tax purposes,” Gacal told the Manila Bulletin.
The fight is likely to be scheduled for Apr 13 or Apr 20 as a warm-up for a fifth contest with Marquez – with Koncz confirming that Singapore, Macau or Abu Dhabi could host. Previous reports also mentioned Dubai as a possible venue.
Pacquiao’s camp are weighing up a re-match with Bradley and also considering Brandon Rios, Roberto Guerrero, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Jessie Vargas and Humberto Sotto as the Filipino’s next opponent.
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“We haven’t started looking at the opponent until we find the venue,” Koncz told The Star.
“But there’s no problem. We hope to finalise things this coming week.”
Pacquiao has 54 wins, five defeats and two draws in nearly 18 years in the pro ring.
He last fought outside the US in July 2006 when he beat Mexican Oscar Larios by a unanimous decision in a super-featherweight clash at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila.