Mauricio Sulaiman says Manny Pacquiao's comeback would be ‘sensational’

Manny Pacquiao is 45 years old, he’s had 72 professional fights, an application to compete in the Olympics denied, and not fought since losing to Yordenis Ugas four years ago, but the WBC have announced they’d approve him as a challenger for their vacant welterweight title.

Terence Crawford recently relinquished the 147-pound belt to move up to junior middleweight, and Mario Barrios, 29, holds the WBC interim strap. A potential fight between Pacquiao and Barrios is reportedly being negotiated and takes a step closer after the sanctioning body’s president, Mauricio Sulaiman, declared that he likes the idea of Pacquiao coming back “very much”.

While talking to Sky Sports, Sulaiman explained: “Manny Pacquiao is timeless. He’s a legend.

“We have great precedent of former champions coming back as long as they pass successfully all the medical examinations.

“As a former champion and as a legend, he does have the possibility of fighting for the WBC championship.”

Pacquiao won the first of multiple belts when he claimed the WBC flyweight title way back in 1999. He last contested a WBC strap when he was outpointed by Floyd Mayweather in their 2015 welterweight super fight, though he did subsequently win WBO and WBA versions of the championship after that. His last victory came in 2019 when he beat Keith Thurman over 12 rounds.

His illustrious career is loaded with punishing fights. Sulaiman nonetheless predicts great things for his comeback.

“I like the idea very much,” he said. “I think Manny Pacquiao can beat any fighter or can be competitive with any fighter today.

“But to have him return to the WBC more than two decades after he won his first world championship, which was the WBC flyweight title, and then go all the way to welterweight in 2024 would be sensational.” 

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