After Manny Pacquiao was stunningly knocked out in the sixth round of his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, many wondered if that would be the last time the boxing great would enter the ring.
Apparently, it won't be, and Pacquiao already has a potential return date in mind—at least according to business manager Rex Salud. Dan Ambrose of BoxingNews247.com offers up some big news from Salud (via the Manila Times) that Pacquiao has agreed to return to the squared circle in September:
Rex Salud, the business manager for Manny Pacquiao, has confirmed that Paquiao will be back in the ring in September of this year and that he’s in a must win situation when he does return.
Salud's comments align what a lot of fans expected for the 34-year-old southpaw. In December, trainer Freddie Roach said that Pacquiao would postpone his next fight to September in order to fully recover from the knockout.
This would represent an abnormally long absence for Pacquiao, who has competed in two fights per year since 2009.
However, it's likely that Pac-Man's management wants him to have adequate rest and preparation for his next fight, as it will be critical for his long-term health and in-ring legacy. The loss to Marquez was the second time Pacquiao fell in 2012, following a controversial split-decision loss to Timothy Bradley in June.
With consecutive losses for the first time in his career, there has been an increasing buzz about Pacquiao's boxing future. His wife, Jinkee, even told Jon Saraceno of USA Today that she hoped that Pacquiao would retire following the Marquez fight.
This confirmation of a next fight squelches that speculation in its infancy.
At this point, there is no word on potential opponents for Pacquiao. Following his loss to Marquez, most have speculated that a fifth fight with his rival would be inevitable so they can capitalize on the previous iteration's buzz. However, with Pac-Man taking a 10-month break, several other possible opponents are sure to generate speculation.
Either way, the pride of the Philippines will likely be back in the ring in September, and that's great for the sport of boxing.