Manny Pacquiao
Top Rank Promotions boss Bob Arum said Manny Pacquiao’s next fight could be his last fight in the boxing ring. Reuters/Erik De Castro

Manny Pacquiao has yet to pick an opponent for his comeback fight next year once he fully recovers from a surgery that repaired a torn rotator cuff suffered against Floyd Mayweather in May. Top Rank Promotions boss Bob Arum initially proposed a five-man list for Pacquiao but according to the American businessman himself, the Filipino’s potential foe in 2016 has now trimmed down to a short list of three fighters.

Arum devised a five-man list of Pacquiao’s potential opponent for his comeback fight next year, which includes Amir Khan, Kell Brook, Lucas Matthysse, Terence Crawford and Juan Manuel Marquez. But according to Mike Coppinger of Boxing Junkie, the list of possible fighters who will get to fight the Filipino boxing icon, in what has been dubbed as Pacquiao’s last fight, has come down to three candidates: Khan, Crawford and Timothy Bradley.

Khan has been linked to fight Pacquiao but the British fighter has reportedly backed down after talks between the two fighters’ camps did not materialise. However, Arum has insisted that he is in constant communication with Khan’s attorney Robert Davis and his uncle Taz.

“Their contract with Haymon, according to (Khan’s team), doesn’t allow Haymon to interfere on making the fight,” Arum said. “Unlike his contracts with other people, where he has veto power, they took that out.”

Crawford, on the other hand, could land a fight with Pacquiao, provided he could present a great performance when he faces Dierry Jean on Saturday night (Sunday in Australia) at the HBO World Boxing Championship. Arum told Lance Pugmire of LA Times that Pacquiao may have to wait for the result of Crawford’s fight before considering the American fighter as his next opponent.

Bradley has expressed interests for a trilogy with the former eight-division titlist, according to Boxing Scene. The World Boxing Organisation welterweight champion, who has a tough matchup in November against Brandon Rios, has won a controversial split decision over Pacquiao in 2012 and then lost in a 12-round unanimous decision rematch the same year.

Arum hinted that Pacquiao’s next fight would probably be the Filipino’s last in order to focus on his political career in the Philippines. But Arum understands that for Pacquiao to serve his country well, the boxer-turned-politician has to be in good condition and that means to quit boxing.

“I’m happy because one thing that’s extraordinarily important given his life plans, is he really wants to be president of Philippines and he really wants to serve the people in the Philippines and he’s gotta be able to do it without any kind of impairment to his brain function and the more you stay in boxing, the more you risk that,” Arum added.

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