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Manny Pacquiao could return on same card as Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford

Photo by Tertius Pickard / AP
Fighters Network

Manny Pacquiao’s return to boxing is being sorted out.

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Manny Pacquiao could fight on the same ESPN-televised event featuring Jeff Horn’s welterweight title defense against Terence Crawford. Crawford’s debut at 147 pounds is being planned for April 21 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but Arum said the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights could complicate matters.

“Unless they can get some clearance from the league, we can’t do it in Las Vegas because none of the other arenas are available and we would have to do it somewhere else,” Arum told the RJ. “We’re working on an opponent. Don’t want to be too premature about that, but we’re working on it as we speak.

“Pacquiao seems like he wants to come back, so we’re trying to get that finalized.”

If Top Rank can’t secure assurances from the NHL that any playoff games would keep the proposed date free, the card could move to April 14 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Pacquiao, a future hall of famer who won titles in eight divisions, would be fighting for the first time since a controversial decision defeat to Horn in Australia.

The July bout was also the debut of Top Rank’s new platform on ESPN, and pairing Pacquiao along with the title fight could draw huge ratings.

Top Rank hopes to eventually match up Crawford, who will be a heavy favorite to dethrone Horn, with Pacquiao in a passing-of-the-torch bout, but first, Pacquiao needs to resume his career.

Now 39, Pacquiao appeared to be a shell of himself through 12 rounds with Horn. If all goes according to plan, the Filipino senator will have the chance to prove it was simply an off night.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger