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Pacquiao eyes April fight

Nick Giongco

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MANNY Pacquiao sees himself fighting around April. PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK GIONGCO FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

Neck-deep in his Senate duties, Manny Pacquiao yesterday ruled himself out of boxing in the first quarter of 2021.

“We still have sessions in March so there’s no way I am going to fight during that time,” Pacquiao told Daily Tribune.

Instead, Pacquiao sees himself returning to the ring by April at the earliest given his public service timetable.

And if he ends up fighting by April, Pacquiao, who turns 42 on 17 December, said he feels he could be fighting again in September.

“I think I can do two (fights) next year,” Pacquiao said.

Still, boxing’s only eight-division champion insists it all depends on the coronavirus situation.

The United States is bracing for a “surge-upon-surge” of COVID-19 cases following the Thanksgiving holidays and the coming Christmas season.

Talks have been made about seeing Pacquiao fight behind closed doors.

Last time he fought in July 2019, Pacquiao, energized by the chants of the spectators at the MGM Grand, inflicted the young and the restless Keith Thurman his first loss.

But Choi Garcia, one of his aides, believes it looks awkward and weird.

“I just don’t see him fighting without any crowd involvement,” Garcia said.

“He draws energy from the crowd.”

Besides, gate attendance plays a pivotal role in the promoters’ financial obligations and proceeds from it are used to pay the fighters.

The name of Conor McGregor has been mentioned as a candidate to face Pacquiao.

McGregor, the Irish mixed martial arts icon, is scheduled to fight in January and if he takes care of business, expect him to make some noise and begin hyping a rich Pacquiao paycheck.

However, the pandemic, which is still raging around the world, could put everything on hold, including Pacquiao’s projected comeback in the second quarter of next year.

“No one knows when his next fight will be,” Garcia said.

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