Manny Pacquiao has confirmed he will return to the ring in 2016, giving himself ample time to recover from the torn rotator cuff injury he suffered during the defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2.
The Filipino isn't impressed with Mayweather's actions since the fight and believes the release of a recent video—in which Pretty Boy goads Pacquiao's injury—doesn't show the composure of a respectable leader for the sport.
"I'm ready to fight, next year. I'm fine," Pacquiao told Viva.co.id (h/t Sky Sports). Although his return will likely prove too late to face Mayweather again—with Money's final bout likely to be scheduled for September—Pacquiao had some advice for the American brawler.
"A real champion is gracious in both his words and conduct, someone who is a champion, not just in his chosen field of endeavour but in his own home and in his private life," he said, per PhilBox.com (h/t Sky Sports).
Mayweather's mocking of Pacquiao can be seen below:
While such an exchange could sow the seeds for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao II, it seems unlikely we'll see the pair clash again. Not only do the timings not add up, but Pacquiao's performance in the original Las Vegas encounter suggested he's no longer a relevant competitor to Mayweather's unblemished record as well.
The Fight of the Century was decided by a technical masterclass from Mayweather, whose unique defensive capabilities stopped Pacquiao from ever finding his range. It was a brilliant, controlled performance from the victor but not one which satisfied the casual audience's baying for knockout entertainment.
A rematch would likely spin huge money, but it would be a challenge for promoters to convince many of those who were disappointed with the first clash to part with their money again. Both Mayweather and Pacquiao remain huge draws on their own.
With his record standing at 48-0, Mayweather might consider taking on an undermatched opponent just to see his career out with a bang. Pacquiao should think about facing someone who is ready to exchange, leaving spaces open for him to exploit in the process. Few will want to see the 36-year-old held at arm's length like he was against Mayweather.
Aside from the loss to Mayweather, the defining moment of Pacquiao's career remains his knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez, which followed his controversial split-decision failure against Timothy Bradley Jr. Pacquiao avenged the loss to Bradley in 2014, so perhaps a headline-grabbing rematch against Marquez would provide him with the opportunity to entertain once more.
It's been six years since Pacquiao knocked out Ricky Hatton, the last man who fell by the Filipino's hands. He hasn't hit particularly heavy in recent times, leaving huge question marks about whether he still possesses the power to finish a future opponent before the judges' scorecards.
Pacquiao's recent injury and performance will only add to those who doubt him, so his must choose his next opponent wisely.