Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is ready to get back in the ring in the United States for the first time since 2016 — against American Adrien Broner.
Pacquiao announced Thursday in a news conference in Manila that he wants to defend his secondary welterweight world title in January. The fight against Broner, which Pacquiao indicated is “90 percent” done, is expected to be held in Las Vegas on either Jan. 12 or Jan. 19, according to ESPN.
“It is almost final but it is not yet there,” Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) said at a charity function. Set to turn 40 in December, he wants Broner to be his next knockout victim, saying, “If I can finish it earlier than seven rounds, why not.”
A fight likely wouldn’t be made official until Pacquiao settles tax issues with the U.S. government after racking up an eight-figure debt to the Internal Revenue Service.
By defeating Broner, the fight possibly could set up a rematch with Floyd Mayweather next spring.
About two weeks ago, Pacquiao signed with Premier Boxing Champions founder Al Haymon to become his adviser. Haymon’s fighters include Broner plus world champions Errol Spence Jr., Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman.
Pacquiao lost a decision to Mayweather in their welterweight title unification bout in 2015. The two talked in September regarding a rematch.
The most recent fight for Pacquiao in the U.S. was in Las Vegas in November 2016, when he won by a decision against Jessie Vargas to earn a welterweight world title. Pacquiao is the only boxer to win world titles in eight weight classes.
Broner, 29, a Cincinnati fighter who has compiled a 33-3-1 record with 24 KOs and world titles in four weight classes, lost a decision to Mikey Garcia in July 2017, then fought to a draw with Vargas in April.