MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing star Manny Pacquiao is currently rehabilitating his right shoulder following rotator cuff after his defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr in May.
He’ll be out of action for the remainder of the year, but when he returns to the ring in 2016, promoter Bob Arum tells USA Today that he has three names in mind: Terence Crawford, Lucas Matthysse and Kell Brook.
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach says he prefers that the 8-division champion “go back into the deep water” when he returns. He believes the 36-year-old is still capable of fighting at a high level in the sport.
“He’s still having a lot of fun with it, he loves the sport, I think he’s gotta couple of fights left in him,” Roach said to USA TODAY Sports. “But the thing is, is a rematch (with Floyd Mayweather) possible? I’m not sure.
“I think that’s what we’re looking for, (to beat someone conclusively), so it’s going to have to be a tough opponent.”
The three fighters Arum mentioned could very well be described as being “deep water.”
Crawford, the Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year for 2014, is a former WBO lightweight titleholder and current WBO junior welterweight titleholder.
Like Pacquiao, the 27-year-old Crawford (26-0, 18 knockouts) of Omaha, Nebraska is promoted by Top Rank.
Matthysse (37-3, 24 KOs) of Argentina, is a popular perennial junior welterweight contender who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. He has fallen just short at the elite level against Danny Garcia, Devon Alexander and Zab Judah, but showed a versatile boxer-puncher approach in his last fight, a majority decision win over Pacquiao’s training mate Ruslan Provodnikov in April.
Brook (35-0, 24 KOs) of Sheffield, England won the IBF welterweight title in August 2014 with a win over Pacquiao’s former sparring partner Shawn Porter. He has since retained the title twice in fights on his home soil.
Brook is 29, while Matthysse is 32.