Manny Pacquiao is starting to take his exhibition boxing matches more seriously.
It happened after the Filipino icon announced that he had signed with Rizin, a promotion company based in Japan, to start getting ready for another exhibition fight this year.
Rizin is the same company that put on some of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s most profitable fights in Japan, which has led to rumors that Pacquiao and Mayweather will fight in a similar showdown.
He showed up on Rizin FF 40 broadcast and said he wanted to fight for the promotion in 2023.
“I was present as a guest a few months ago, and I have an inspiring announcement to make tonight,” Pacquiao said during an appearance in the ring. “Rizin and I have agreed to fight next year. The date will be set soon, and Rizin will choose my opponent. I’m ready and happy to fight a Japanese fighter.”
Manny Pacquiao and Rizin FF president Nobuyuki Sakakibara informed the crowd at Saitama Super Arena outside of Tokyo that the former world great champion boxer will fight in the Rizin FF ring next year. They did not say who he would fight or how the rules would work.
Pacquiao is one of many famous boxers that Rizin has worked with. Floyd Mayweather, who has been his rival for a long time and has fought against him once, has also fought in two exhibition fights for the same organization.
“I’ve agreed to fight Rizin next year. The date and my opponent, whom Rizin will choose, will be announced soon. I’m ready and happy to fight a Japanese fighter. “Thanks,” he said.
Pacquiao must have had so much fun in his first boxing exhibition last month against Korean YouTuber DK Yoo, whom he beat in six rounds. It is why he wants to do more.
Pacquiao’s last professional fight was in Las Vegas in 2021, when he got lost to Yordenis Ugas. It was a setback that made him decide to retire.
The 44-year-old last fought in a professional match in August 2021, when Yordenis Ugas beat him unanimously. Before that, he stopped boxing for two years to focus on his political career in his home country, the Philippines.
Like Mayweather, Pacquiao has started doing exhibition fights for money instead of trying to add to his 62-8-2 record. Most recently, on Dec. 11, he won a unanimous decision over DK Yoo.
The former eight-division world champion wants to fight Mayweather again to get revenge for losing to him in 2015, but he is curious if Mayweather feels the same way.
He told FightHype.com on December 8 (via Wil Esco of Bad Left Hook): “I don’t think he’ll fight me again.” “I don’t believe that. I thought he was too scared to fight again, and that’s how I looked at the rematch with him.”
Manny Pacquiao will focus on something else since he said he’ll fight a Japanese fighter Rizin picked. Mayweather might be interested in the event if it is a big enough show.