Manny Pacquiao’s camp has reportedly requested a bout with Conor Benn as the boxing icon returns to training, signaling a potential end to his retirement.
In 2021, Pacquiao, the renowned eight-division world champion, left the boxing world at the age of 44 after losing to Yordenis Ugas and focused on his political aspirations.
Pacquiao stayed on as a senator, despite his unsuccessful campaign for the Philippines’ presidency. Subsequently, he resumed his boxing career with exhibition fights.
It appears that he has been using these fights as a stepping stone to come back to professional boxing.
‼️ Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions rep Sean Gibbons has stated that Pacquiao is now back in training and seeking a fight to bring him out of retirement at age 44. Gibbons has welcomed a clash with Conor Benn – talks ongoing despite Benn's positive drugs tests situation. [@KevinI]
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) March 3, 2023
Currently, two problems may prevent the boxing match from happening. To begin with, Benn does not possess a boxing license.
Last year, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) prevented a bout between the 26-year-old and Chris Eubank Jr from occurring due to two failed VADA tests which revealed the presence of the banned substance clomifene.
Two different probes have been conducted concerning the tests – one by the WBC sanctioning committee and another by the British Board of Boxing Control and the UK Anti-Doping Agency.
The WBC made a declaration that they were going to put Benn back on their list of welterweight world rankings and not issue any form of penalty.
However, no verdict has been announced as of yet from the BBBofC/UKAD inquiry. The second potential obstacle blocking the Pacquiao vs Benn match could be a more pressing one. In 2020, Pacquiao signed a managerial contract with Audie Attar’s Paradigm Sports Management.
The following year, Paradigm brought legal action against Pacquiao for breach of the contract on the basis that he did not go through with reported plans for a bout with Mikey Garcia, as well as Connor McGregor.
And given that this needs to be resolved, there are still many hurdles. So will Pacquiao vs Benn happen?