Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring is being planned for Nov. 5 in Las Vegas, the fighter’s promoter said Monday.
Bob Arum said a possible Oct. 29 date has been ruled out after discussions with both site representatives and Pacquiao, who recently began the first of a six-year term in the Philippines Senate.
MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and the Tomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas are in play to host the fight.
Former eight-division champion Pacquiao, 37, announced his retirement following his April 9 unanimous-decision victory over Timothy Bradley at MGM Grand, but, as veteran boxers do, he’s had a change of heart and would like to fight during an opening in his Senate workload.
Arum, while attending a media appearance with World Boxing Organization light-welterweight champion Terence Crawford on Monday in Hollywood, said Crawford, unbeaten World Boxing Council champion Viktor Postol and WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas are the top contenders to fight Pacquiao.
Crawford meets Ukrainian Postol on Saturday on HBO pay-per-view.
While Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said he believes junior-welterweight is Pacquiao’s best fighting weight, Arum said he’s unsure Pacquiao will have sufficient training time to take off the additional seven pounds – which would seem to favor Vargas’ candidacy.
Roach also trains Postol, but has made it clear he would train Pacquiao if those two fought.
“A lot of it depends on if Manny wants to go down to 140. If he decides to go to 140 and Crawford wins, that could be the fight, but if he says no, says, ‘Because of the Senate, I’m not going to be able to get down to 140 comfortably,’ then he’ll fight against Vargas,” Arum said.
Arum ruled out unbeaten WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia, saying, “Nobody’s ever called me about Garcia. Garcia’s saying he wants more money. Who’s he talking to?”