TACLOBAN CITY- Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring in July, that is if the COVID-19(coronavirus disease 2019) threat suffers a knockout in the next two to three months.

Three days ago, the ‘Pacman’ expressed optimism that the deadly disease will be contained within the next three months and he will train immediately for the planned bout.

     Because of the virus, boxing promoters such as Top Rank cancelled scheduled bouts that included the April 25 duel between Ormoc City pride John Riel Casimero and Japanese champion Naoya Inoue. 

Other title fights featuring Pinoy sluggers Jerwin Ancajas and Nonito Donaire were indefinitely postponed.

     The fighting senator has been inactive inside the ring for almost a year. His last fight was August 2019 where he earned a unanimous victory over Keith Thurman to claim the WBA welterweight crown. 

Pacman, now 41 years old, wants to fight as soon as possible as his age and inactivity may affect his performance.

Two big names have been floated as possible opponent for Pacquiao in his next bout. They are 4-division titlist Mikey Garcia and WBC/IBF welterweight ruler Errol Spence.

Garcia, 32 years old, tots an impressive ring record of 40 wins, 1 loss and 30 KO victories, while the 30-year old Spence boasts of 21 Kos in 26 triumphs without absorbing a defeat.

 Pacquiao has 62 wins, 39 by KO, 7 losses and a couple of draws. (KEVIN SIOSANA)