The last time we saw Manny Pacquiao, he was lying face-first, flat on the mat at the MGM Grand Arena as Juan Manuel Marquez circled the ring as the victor.
In November, Pacquiao will get a chance to erase that image from our minds.
According to Pac-Man adviser Michael Koncz, speaking to BoxingScene.com, the former champion will get back in the ring on November 24 (November 23 in the United States) in Macau, China, against either Brandon Rios or Mike Alvarado.
To avoid money-grabbing from the front-runner's end, Koncz would not say which fighter is the leading candidate in Pacquiao's camp:
I don't want to put my hand on a table [and reveal the frontrunner] because people are going to demand more money. We are definitely fighting in November, on November 24 and it's definitely in Macau. As to an opponent, we are still working on that and that's why I'm here in Vegas. I will be going back to the Philippines next week, more for the elections than boxing but I am in contact with Manny every day or every other day.
Koncz stated he really doesn't have a preference for whether Alvarado or Rios ends up being the draw, stating "both of their styles make for perfect opponents" and that it's a "question of which one is not going to overprice themselves."
At 54-5-2, Pacquiao has lost two straight decisions. Marquez knocked him out in December and Timothy Bradley captured a controversial split-decision win back in June of 2012.
The news from Koncz confirms what Top Rank boss and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum announced in late April. With Marquez and Bradley hooking up for a fight in September, both those options were off the table, and Pacquiao's date had to be pushed to late November to accommodate the Chinese holidays during that time of the year.
The proposed November bout could also be Pacquiao's last chance to stake his claim at Floyd Mayweather Jr. before all the shine wears off a potential bout between the two.
Mayweather, fighting Robert Guerrero on Saturday at the MGM Grand, dismissed the idea of Pacquiao as a potential opponent after his loss to Marquez in December (h/t FightHype.com), saying he felt bad for the 34-year-old former champion after his knockout loss.
With a win over Rios or Alvarado and an accompanying win over either Bradley or Marquez next year (likely the winner of their September bout), Pacquiao can make one final push for the superfight that boxing fans have been dying to see for the last half-decade.
Right now, though, the focus from Pacquiao will be about the congressional elections in his native Philippines, and then preparation for a November fight that could either be a triumphant return or a swan song to an otherwise stellar career.
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