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Manny Pacquiao next fight: ‘PacMan’ eyeing return for vacant welterweight title fight against Mario Barrios

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Don’t call it a comeback. Former eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao is looking to return to the boxing ring. Pacquiao’s promoter, Sean Gibbons, told ESPN that Pacquiao, 45, is targeting a welterweight title bout against Mario Barrios in Las Vegas later this year.

Pacquiao hasn’t fought professionally since 2021, when he lost via decision to Yordensi Ugas. Despite his age, Pacquiao believes he can still perform at a high level in the ring, and he has been able to recuperate during his three-year hiatus.

“I made history at 40 beating Keith Thurman and I feel at 45, I have a lot left in the game as I haven’t taken a lot of punishment over the last few years,” Pacquiao told ESPN. “I want to go out making history.”

At 29-years old, Barrios is 16 years younger than Pacquiao. He earned the interim WBC title at 147 pounds last September with a stunning upset of Yordenis Ugas. The Texas native is coming off a win over Fabian Maidana in May. Barrios now boasts a career record of 29-2, and he would welcome a fight against a legend like Pacquiao.

“I’m very excited at the possibility of this fight being made,” Barrios said. “Manny Pacquiao is a future Hall of Famer, a legend and someone I looked up to growing up. To share the ring with him would be an honor and a dream come true.”

Pacquiao began his boxing record all the way back in 1995, the same year Barrios was born. He defeated Edmund Enting Ignacio in his first fight, and that kicked off a 54-3-2 run in his first 59 fights and saw him claim world titles from 112 pounds all the way to 154 pounds.

In 2015, Pacquiao fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the highest-grossing fight of all-time, but he lost via unanimous decision. Since then, Pacquiao has gone 5-2 in his last seven professional bouts.

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