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#pounditTuesday, March 21, 2023

Manny Pacquiao makes big announcement about his future

Photo Credit: Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions

Manny Pacquiao will officially be back in the ring in 2023 … just in a slightly different capacity.

The eight-division world champion Pacquiao announced on Saturday at an event in Tokyo, Japan that he has agreed to a deal with Japanese promoter Rizin to compete next year, per ESPN’s Marc Raimondi. Pacquiao added that he would face a Japanese fighter but did not provide further details.

Rizin mainly does MMA fights but also puts on boxing and kickboxing bouts. Raimondi reports that Pacquiao will likely compete in an exhibition boxing match in Japan. Pacquiao’s famous rival, Floyd Mayweather Jr., has already fought in the country under Rizin before, facing kickboxer Tenshin Nasukaw in 2018 and mixed martial artist Mikuru Asakura. Both were exhibition boxing bouts that Mayweather won by early-round TKO.

As for Pacquiao, now 44, he retired as a professional boxer in 2021 after losing to Yordenis Urgas in August of that year. He ended his legendary career with a record of 62-8-2 and 39 knockouts. Pacquiao then went on to run for president in his native Philippines, where he has served as a senator. He ended up losing in the 2022 election, finishing in third place behind Leni Robredo and the eventual winner, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The Rizin deal is actually not Pacquiao’s first foray into exhibition bouts since retiring professionally. He already fought South Korean martial artist and YouTuber DK Yoo earlier this month, winning a six-round unanimous decision. Interestingly enough, Pacquiao once criticized Mayweather for taking on lesser-caliber opponents but is now following in Mayweather’s footsteps with this Rizin partnership.

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