SPORTS: Manny Pacquiao to have next fight in July.

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There were bodyguards and masseurs who were at his beck and call, but Senator Manny Pacquiao, wearing a suit and leather shoes, chose to do the work himself at the changing room of the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday, February 13.

Sitting and holding a jigsaw massage gun, Pacquiao was gently rotating it on his left calf, hoping the rapid constant pulse it emits would do magic – relieve the throbbing pain instantly so that he can participate in the Executive Game of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season All-Stars Extravaganza.

Pacquiao even sprang up sometimes, shaking his legs, muttering he thinks he can play for the South division team executives going up against their counterparts from the South.

But ultimately, the eight-division boxing world champion got convinced it would be better for him to sit out the game serving as one of the side events of the MPBL All-Stars won by the Southerners in overtime.

While the original timetable is for Pacquiao to have a fight in April, it’s unlikely to happen now with the plausible opponents having scheduled bouts already.

“Most likely in July,” Pacquiao told two sportswriters who asked when he’s going to fight next. The Senate will have a break from May to July and the reigning World Boxing Association welterweight champion sees that period as an open window to return to the ring.

Against whom? There’s no specific target, although Pacquiao signing up with Paradigm Sports Management recently put MMA legend Conor McGregor, who’s also with PSM, in the short list of probable rivals along with Errol Spence and Danny Garcia.

SIDELINED. Manny Pacquiao tries to shrug off his leg pain, but eventually decides to sit out for the MPBL All-Stars. Photo by Roy Luarca/Rappler

Pacquiao said his contract with Paradigm isn’t exclusive and is primarily centered on endorsements and sponsorship deals, so he sees no conflict with his ties with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.

According to Sean Gibbons, president of MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions, talks are ongoing with Pacquiao and the PBC regarding the universal icon’s next fight tentatively set in July.

Pacquiao’s sore and tight calf muscles are expected to be fully healed by next month, so he’ll have ample time to whip himself back into optimum form

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