Will Pacquiao achieve this historic feat at 45? We may find out by year’s end.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Mario Barrios

According to Bob Santos, a key member of Manny Pacquiao’s team, a deal is “in place” for Pacquiao to challenge WBC welterweight champion Mario Barrios later this year. Santos told World Boxing News that Pacquiao, now 45 and set for an exhibition fight next month, is aiming to face Barrios, who recently became the full WBC champion at 147 after Terence Crawford vacated the title.

Pacquiao, known for making history, is eager for this fight. “Once Mario was elevated to full WBC champion, Pacquiao wanted to make history, and Barrios is the guy he wants to fight for the WBC title,” Santos said. “We’re all moving forward, no doubt about it. It’s just a matter of finalizing the details. But Manny wants the fight, and Mario wants the fight.” Pacquiao last fought in summer 2021, losing to Yordenis Ugas. Despite a three-year hiatus, Pacquiao has stayed in shape and remains remarkably fast for his age.

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If Pacquiao defeats Barrios, who has expressed great respect for the boxing legend, he would set a new record as the oldest welterweight champion in history. Pacquiao, with a record of 62-8-2 (39 KOs), would surpass his previous record set at age 40 when he defeated Keith Thurman in 2019. Barrios, 29-2 (18 KOs), has bounced back with three wins after consecutive losses to Tank Davis and Thurman.

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