Manny Pacquiao will be entering the ring on July 20 with a clear understanding that a win over the undefeated WBA (Super) welterweight champion, Keith “One Time” Thurman, will open the way for more lucrative fights in the future.

Pacquiao has now become the favorite to win the WBA welterweight unification fight after the Las Vegas betting line initially put the eight-division world champion as a slight underdog.

Betting odds aside, many boxing pundits view the Pacquiao-Thurman clash as a 50-50 fight with both fighters capable of delivering a KO punch or winning via a decision.

Nacho Beristain, the chief trainer of Pacquiao’s archrival Juan Manuel Marquez, said that his heart is with the Filipino boxing champion, though he cautioned that it’s a very "risky fight" for Pacman because of his age.

No one ever conceived that Pacquiao would be fighting for another title at the age of 40, not with his aggressive style and brutal fights he had over the years.

But load management and great athletic genes have kept him in the fighting game for this long, putting him in a position to earn handsome paychecks and possibly more down the road.

Moving back to 140-pound

Speaking of Pacquiao’s ridiculous longevity in the sport, boxing fans and experts can’t help to wonder what is next for the Filipino icon, assuming he easily disposes of Thurman.

Pacquiao may have dropped a hint of his plans during his Las Vegas grand arrival media interview on Saturday.

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“If there’s a fighter who wants to fight at 140, why not,?” Pacquiao said of his willingness to go down to jr. welterweight via FightHype.

Pacquiao has been fighting and has had success as a welterweight for over a decade, scoring wins over full-fledged 147-pounders Miguel Cotto, Timothy Bradley, Jesse Vargas, Shane Mosley, and Adrien Broner.

However, Pacquiao and his camp believe the most comfortable weight class for him is the jr.

welterweight division (140 pounds), where his only fight resulted to a devastating second-round KO win over Ricky Hatton in 2009.

Right now, the 140-pound class is loaded with prospects yet they still lack the star power to pique Pacquiao’s interest. Mikey Garcia is considered the gold standard of the division, but he too needs to rebuild his resume after losing to Erroll Spence early this year.

The only plausible ‘money fight’ that can be made for Pacquiao in the jr.

welterweights is the bout against 135-pound kingpin Vasyl Lomachenko.

Lomachenko, who boasts a 13-1 record with 10 KOs, currently holds the WBA (Super), WBO and Ring magazine title. Ring Magazine rated him as the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, which gives him the credibility to fight a legend like Pacquiao.

Pacquiao vs. Lomachenko

While the welterweight division presents a number of money fight options for Pacquiao, going down to 140 and fighting Lomachenko would make sense financially and logically.

The Ukrainian fighting machine has seen his popularity rise in the past few years, thanks to his marquee victories against Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nicolas Walters and Jorge Linares. His upcoming title unification showdown with Luke Campbell for the WBC Lightweight title on August 31 at O2 Arena in London would further elevate him as a legitimate box-office draw.

At this point in his career, Pacquiao only wants fights that guarantee him at least $20 million along with the possibility of earning more from pay-per-view buys.

With the heavy marketing machinery both Top-Rank and PBC have, creating a buzz surrounding a possible bout between Lomachenko and Pacquiao would be very much achievable. The narrative of a boxing living legend and former pound-for-pound king in Manny Pacquiao taking on former Olympic gold medalist and the current No.1 fighter in the world in Lomachenko will be intriguing enough for the fight to sell.

A Pacquiao victory would further cement his legacy as one of the best fighters in the modern era, while a Lomachenko win would create another transcending star in the sport of boxing.

For now, a Pacquiao-Lomachenko fight is all wishful thinking. Then again, this is boxing - expect the unexpected.

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