Top Rank CEO Bob Arum says he will let Manny Pacquiao decide who he wants to fight this autumn provided he successfully comes through his next bout unscathed, a potential choice between two top-three pound-for-pound talents in Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko.
Veteran Pacquiao is likely to make his latest return to the ring on 14 April as he battles former WBO light-welterweight champion Mike Alvarado.
That fight, while yet to be officially confirmed, is set to feature as the co-main event alongside Crawford's welterweight title clash with Jeff Horn on an joint-Top Rank/ESPN card that was originally supposed to take place at Madison Square Garden before being shifted west to the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
It will be celebrated former eight-division world champion and current Philippines senator Pacquiao's first bout since July 2017, when he followed his WBO title win over Jessie Vargas - which came after a short-lived retirement - with a shocking and controversial points defeat to Horn in Brisbane, Australia.
The 39-year-old's camp were previously said to be pursuing a fight with stylish WBO super-featherweight title-holder Lomachenko, who is due to make his lightweight debut in May after embarrassing Guillermo Rigondeaux as he looks to take on Jorge Linares. 'Hi-Tech' said last month that he turned down such an offer due to concerns over the weight and his opponent's age detracting from any potential victory.
It has also been stated that Pacquiao - who had indicated a desire to face Lucas Matthysse in his next comeback fight - could lock horns with the winner of Crawford-Horn.
Speaking to ringtv.com, promoter Arum said his charge would definitely meet one of Lomachenko or Crawford - both fellow Top Rank fighters - later this year. Which one, however, will be left up to him.
"That's going to be up to Mr. Pacquiao," he said, per Bad Left Hook. "I'm going to be like Switzerland having both of these guys. Both can make good money fighting Pacquiao and I'm going to let Manny, assuming everything works out in April, make the decision."
The ageing Pacquiao heads into that contest against Alvarado having gone 13 fights since his last knockout, a memorable late 12th-round stoppage of Miguel Cotto in November 2009 that saw him claim a seventh world title in a seventh different weight class.
Though Arum would like to see that lengthy run without a KO end in April to set-up a headline autumn encounter, he acknowledges the effects of the ravishes of time and Pacquiao's comparatively smaller size at welterweight level.
"Would I like to see him get (a knockout)? Yes, of course," he said. "Because then that would build up his next fight in the fall. But again, you know, he's a smaller guy fighting these welterweights and he's certainly not as fast as he used to be and so his knockout ability, I think, has been diminished over time."