Eight-division boxing champion and future Hall-of-Famer Manny Pacquiao is slated to make his return to the United States in early 2019.
Pacquiao recently announced at a press conference in Manila that he’ll be fighting former world champion Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs). He said that the fight will happen either January 12th or January 19th, and that the deal is “90% done.” ESPN says that January 19th is the date, Las Vegas is the venue, but Pacquiao’s problems with the IRS have to be squared away before he can entertain the idea of his first United States fight since 2016.
The 39-year-old Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) is coming off a TKO win over Lucas Matthysse in July, his first stoppage since Miguel Cotto in 2009. This welterweight (147 lbs) bout was contested in Malaysia and promoted by Pacquiao’s own promotional company, as he is no longer affiliated with Top Rank. He also signed with powerful boxing adviser Al Haymon, who is the creator of the Premier Boxing Champions brand, and also works with Floyd Mayweather. How did all of this happen, you ask? Well ESPN has the story laid out.
Top Rank agreed to pay Pacquiao $1.7 million for the fight’s U.S. rights as well as the right of a first negotiation and last look on the U.S. rights for his next fight.
After the Matthysse fight, Pacquiao claimed that Top Rank owed him the $1.7 million but he had declined to sign the agreement granting Top Rank the broadcast rights for his next bout. They ultimately settled, with Top Rank paying Pacquiao $300,000 on the Matthysse fight and Pacquiao no longer having any obligation to the company for his U.S. broadcast rights.
That allowed him to go with Haymon, who has a deal for PBC fights with Showtime and one with Fox, which will kick off on Dec. 22.
Broner hasn’t fought since a draw with Jessie Vargas in April. He also lost a decision vs. Mikey Garcia in July 2017, and his most recent win was a ten-round split decision over Adrian Granados in February 2017. He has won world titles in four weight classes, but has lost two of them on the scale by coming in overweight. Broner has also had numerous run-ins with the law, making him one of the more controversial figures in the sport, but he is still a popular draw for Showtime.
If Pacquiao vs. Broner materializes, the bout would likely land on Showtime PPV according to Ring Magazine’s Mike Coppinger. It’d be the first PPV main event for Broner, whereas Pacquiao’s last PPV headliner did only 300,000 buys for his victory vs. Jessie Vargas in November 2016. A win for Pacquiao additionally paves the way for that rematch with Floyd Mayweather to happen in May.