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Manny Pacquiao targets WBC welterweight title for comeback

World Boxing News has learned that Manny Pacquiao wants to fight for the WBC welterweight title upon his return to the sport later this year.

The 45-year-old wants one more fight, according to MP Promotions Chairman Sean Gibbons, with the green and gold strap the number one target.

WBN spoke to Gibbons about the possibility of a shot at the belt, which became vacant when the WBC made Terence Crawford ‘Champion in Recess.’ Crawford had his position downgraded until the full extent of a run at super welterweight is known. ‘Bud’ challenges Israil Madrimov for the WBA version on August 3, with the vacant WBO title also on the line. Crawford still holds the WBO and WBA belts at 147.

However, with the WBC title now free, Pacquiao hopes to be allowed to compete against Mario Barrios in the summer or fall. Barrios recently defended his interim title on the Las Vegas undercard of Canelo vs Munguia. The Mexican could be upgraded to full champion any day now.

WBN has already contacted the WBC to gauge whether they would be receptive to Pacquiao being given a shot at Barrios despite being out of the ring for three years and losing his last fight. The WBC may expect Pacquiao to beat someone in the top fifteen first, prolonging his comeback. However, given his position as a boxing legend, Pacquiao could certainly argue, as could rival Floyd Mayweather, that he deserves this final opportunity before retirement. Pacquiao’s status is undoubtedly sufficient to warrant any title shot he wishes to pursue.

Barrios, who WBN has also contacted, would jump at the chance to share the squared circle with Pacquiao for his farewell fight. The event would be an instant Las Vegas mega-event with fans flocking to boxing’s capital to see the ‘Pac-Man’ one last time.

It’s just a dream for Pacquiao as he comes to the end of his exceptional career. More will come to light once the WBC decides on the status of its welterweight crown. Souleymane Cissokho, the number one contender, will expect to be first in line once Barrios gets elevated.

Whether the talented Frenchman would be willing to wait could be a sticking point, even with the promise of a shot at the winner.

Read all articles and exclusive interviews by Phil Jay. Learn more about the author, experienced boxing writer, and World Boxing News Editor since 2010. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.