Manny Pacquiao appears destined to make his comeback against Lucas Matthysse after identifying the reigning WBA welterweight champion as his preferred opponent for his latest return to boxing.
The 39-year-old is plotting another return to the ring after losing to Jeff Horn in Brisbane in July 2017, his seventh loss in 70 professional fights which has included 59 wins.
Argentine Matthysse has previously revealed his desire to fight Pacquiao and a bout now looks set to happen later this year.
"I want Matthysse," the Filipino told the Manila Bulletin. "This is the fight that I like...a fight fans would also like to see," Pacquiao, 39, said. "I can fight in April or even May."
Top Rank chief Bob Arum last week said Pacquiao had been pencilled in to make his debut in New York at Madison Square Garden on 14 April, though confirmation has not yet been forthcoming.
The bout would prospectively take place up on the same night as Horn and Terence Crawford's clash for the Australian's WBO title in Las Vegas, which has been moved from The Big Apple.
The Pacquiao camp have been talking up a possible meeting with Vasyl Lomachenko in recent weeks, though the Ukrainian is not interested at this time and looks more likely to face Jorge Linares – the WBA and Ring magazine lightweight champion - later in the year.
All roads therefore appear to lead to Matthysse, with Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach keen on the fight. The 57-year-old has already has already had a visit from his own coach Joel Diaz in recent days, who himself is targeting the eight-division world champion.
"I love that fight [Matthysse], one of his trainers was here the other day," Roach told BoxingScene.com. "I took [his trainer] downstairs [at the Wild Card Boxing Club], I gave him the tour a little bit, he pointed at a picture of Pacquiao and said, 'We want him' and I said, 'I would love for you to have him.
"I think it's a great fight, two guys who are a little bit older and not as big of punchers as they once were but it's a very good action-packed fight."