MANNY PACQUIAO will appeal the WBA’s decision to strip him of his world title as he prepares to return to the ring.
The 42-year-old had the belt taken away from him with Yordenis Ugas elevated to champion.
The governing body announced the news online, and confirmed PacMan is the ‘champion in recess’.
It means the Filipino icon, an eight-weight world champ, would likely be given the chance to immediately challenge for his old belt once he makes his return.
Cuban Ugas, 34, stands to benefit, after he was upgraded from the WBA’s secondary ‘Regular’ champion.
The WBA announced that when a champion is unable to defend the belt for medical, legal or other reasons beyond his control, he may be named champion in recess.
Pacquiao has not fought since he won the title against Keith Thurman in July 2019.
But due to the coronavirus pandemic, he has not been able to make a comeback – falling into the ‘other reasons beyond his control’ section.
But he announced this week he was back in the gym and would be returning to the ring soon.
Now Pacman is set to fight to get his title back with the Games and Amusements Board in the Philippines firmly behind the legend’s quest to be reinstated.
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GAB chairman Baham Mitra said: “GAB is mandated by law to champion the rights of every Filipino professional boxer at all times.
“That is why we are appealing to WBA to reconsider its decision.
“We are studying the WBA rules. We want to assist our good senator who may have to fight next.
“Also, we want to know from our partners in the WBA what particular documentation that we must have to comply with as WBA requirements, to regain the WBA belt, in case our Pinoy boxing champ opts to.”
Pacquiao was in talks to fight UFC superstar Conor McGregor this year, with the pair both represented by Paradigm Sports management.
But after McGregor suffered a shock knockout loss to Dustin Poirier on his UFC return, the lucrative boxing match was shelved.
Instead, Pacquiao moved on to lightweight sensation Ryan Garcia, 22, who is a stone lighter and 20 years younger.
They are still in negotiations, as it emerged the super-fight could be competed as an exhibition.
But Garcia was quick to insist it will be a REAL fight, and nothing will stop him from trying to KO Pacquiao, who he considers a hero of his.