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Manny Pacquiao Set To Return To Face Mario Barrios For WBC 147 Lbs Title

Manny Pacquiao Set To Return To Face Mario Barrios For WBC 147 Lbs Title featured image
Retired multiple world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao (R) of the Philippines speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Tokyo on June 10, 2024. Boxing great Manny Pacquiao said June 10 that he is in negotiations to make a comeback but cautioned that a potential world title fight against Mario Barrios was "far away". (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has been linked with a return to the ring several times since his last professional fight in 2021―where he lost by unanimous decision to Cuban fighter Yordenis Ugas, and recent rumors have now pinpointed World Boxing Council (WBC) interim welterweight champion Mario Barrios as a potential opponent for Pacquiao.

While Manny Pacquaio had announced his retirement a month after his defeat to Yordenis Ugas (27-6, 12 KO’s) as he revealed to be running for president during the Philippine’s election period in 2021, the surefire future Hall of Famer was linked with British welterweight contender Conor Benn (23-0, 14 KO’s) over the past two years―though this fight was not arranged due to Benn’s issues surrounding his positive drug test in 2022.

American WBC interim 147 lbs champion Mario Barrios (29-2, 18 KO’s) now appears to be the fighter Pacquiao is keen on facing as he stated during a presser in Japan to announce his upcoming July 28th exhibition bout against Japanese MMA fighter Chihiro Suzuki at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

We’re still in under negotiation[s], and we’re talking about that,Pacquiao said during the press conference according to Japan Times. “The fight has not materialized yet, [but] that negotiation is ongoing. It’s going to be by December—November or December.

[But] there’s still a lot of things to discuss and talk about.

If the negotiations between the two parties pan out well, Pacquiao and Barrios could fight at the end of this year and potentially headline a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) card; to which Barrios is currently signed to and under whose banner Manny Pacquiao had fought under several times before his retirement from professional boxing.

Additionally, the date of November or December for the potential fight could involve the WBC welterweight world title, with the current holder of the title is vacant as its previous holder, Terence Crawford (40-0, 31 KO’s), was recently relegated to WBC champion-in-recess due to expectations of him remaining in the 154 lbs division following his August 3rd fight against World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight champion Israil Madrimov (10-0-1, 7 KO’s).

As Mario Barrios is the holder of the WBC interim welterweight title, the possibility of Barrios being promoted following August 3rd would allow Manny Pacquiao to fight for the actual world title by November or December.

However, the negotiations between Manny Pacquiao and Mario Barrios will first need to be concluded for the planned fight to come to fruition. While under normal circumstances a sanctioning body would likely not approve Pacquiao as a title challenger due to his long absence from the sport and age [of 45-years old], the WBC is known to bend their own rules and is not likely to pose much resistance to a title fight between the two welterweights―if they manage to reach terms.