Manila - Philippine boxing idol Manny Pacquiao said a January fight in the USA with American Adrien Broner is nearly certain, but he dodged the mounting speculation of a possible rematch with rival Floyd Mayweather.
"I believe Broner was chosen specifically because he has a style, particularly on the defensive side, that resembles Mayweather's", said veteran fight analyst Ed Tolentino.
Pacquiao himself announced the Broner showdown late Wednesday night during the formal turnover rights of a $100,000 donation made by Japan-based charitable organization ISPS Handa to the Emmanuel and Jinkee Heart Foundation at the Makati Shangri-La.
"It is nearly final but it is not yet there", Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) said at a charity function about the Broner deal.
He wants to secure the same result or better against Broner.
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Since then, Pacquiao has defied calls to retire and promised to fight again, prompting unclear reports about a range of possible contenders.
Pacquiao recently signed with Mayweather's advisor Al Haymon and has a fight coming up against Adrien Broner in January. "Basta laban lang tayo".
But since he wants to become marketable enough to get that rematch against Mayweather, it would be wise for Pacquiao to beat Broner in Las Vegas, said Tolentino. In July 2017, in the fight that kicked off the Top Rank/ESPN partnership, Pacquiao lost the title by controversial decision to Jeff Horn in Horn's hometown of Brisbane, Australia, in his final fight with Top Rank as his promoter.
"If I can finish it earlier than seven rounds, why not", said the Filipino boxing icon. "It will take place January 12 or 19, but I want it to take place on 12 kasi back to work na ko ng 19", said Pacquiao, who's also focused on his work as Philippine senator.
The most recent fight for Pacquiao in the United States was in Las Vegas in November 2016, when he won by a decision against Jessie Vargas to earn the WBO welterweight world title.