Manny Pacquiao has announced his comeback to action for July 7 in Malaysia, having set-up his return clash as a bonafide world title event.
Pacquiao will bid for yet another strap against hardened Argentinian Lucas Matthysse, although some are not counting the contest as an actual title fight.
Matthysse is the current ‘regular’ champion with the World Boxing Association, whilst Keith Thurman is the ‘super’ belt holder. This means Thurman is recognized as the full ruler, whilst Matthysse is seen more as an interim champion to the American.
Putting the fight into this ‘interim’ kind of context may not be good for the likes of past champions Scott Quigg and Alexander Povetkin, plus current rulers Brian Castano and Ryota Murata as their reigns would then come into question.
The WBA had promised to eradicate the ‘regular’ belt in a 2016 movement which has since failed to come to fruition, with Pacquiao certain to have to take on the full champion before calling himself a world title holder again.
If Pacquiao comes out on top, it’s expected the WBA will then order a mandatory fight against Thurman by the end of 2018, something the fans would be up for and eventually see one champion at the 147 pound limit.
Thurman fights on Showtime as Pacquiao comes to agreements on a fight-to-fight basis, which could see an agreement made that would see the Filipino return to the network for the first time since his 2015 battle with Floyd Mayweather.
‘MayPac’ remains the most lucrative boxing bout of all time, although Mayweather is hoping to top it in the combat stakes with an MMA debut against Conor McGregor in 2018.
Mayweather is currently training for his high-profile move to UFC as Pacquiao attempts to branch out on his following years under the guidance of Bob Arum.