Manny Pacquiao will be ready for a return to the ring as soon as his next fight is agreed, according to head trainer Buboy Fernandez.
The Filipino, now 41, has not fought in almost a year, when he defeated the previously unbeaten Keith Thurman in Las Vegas last July to capture the WBA welterweight crown.
Pacquiao had expected to contest his 72nd professional bout next month, but those plans were postponed because of the coronavirus. Last week, Top Rank CEO and promoter Bob Arum said "serious talks" had taken place about arranging a major fight in Bahrain later this year, with Pacquiao against unbeaten WBO champion Terence Crawford discussed.
It would mark another major test of Pacquiao’s talent as the eight-division champion, a sitting senator in the Philippines and tipped to make a run at the country’s presidency in 2022, moves towards the conclusion of his career.
Fernandez, though, believes the celebrated southpaw keeps in such good shape that he will be raring to go whenever called upon.
"There's no problem because his light training has been continuous, and because he sweats it out regularly, it's not a problem for him," Fernandez told The Manila Times. "We won't have a difficult time bringing his stamina up to speed once there's a schedule already.
“I even told him on his birthday that two more fights would be enough. There’s nothing more to prove. But it’s difficult to tell a fighting senator to stop fighting. So, we wait for him to decide when.
"Maybe it’s his determination, and it’s still in his heart to keep fighting. We’re just surprised that his opponents still get knocked down.”
Should Pacquiao, whose record stands at 62-7-2 (39 KOs), not seal the deal with Crawford, he has been linked with potential clashes against IBF champion Errol Spence Jr, or Mikey Garcia.
“It’s up to us to decide [his next opponent],” Fernandez said. “That all depends on the discussion between the senator and the promoter. Whatever their decision, what’s important is that we’re always prepared.
“There hasn’t been any confirmation. I don’t want to set anything in stone. Let’s wait for all concerned parties to come to an agreement.
"The fighting senator is always ready. He never lets himself go. He does light training. Whether he has a trainer or not, he exercises."