In a period of 12 months, from July 15, 2018 – July 20, 2019, eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao lit up the welterweight division by knocking out WBA "regular" welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse, successfully defending that title against former four-division world champion Adrien Broner (world-rated No. 6 by the WBA) in January 2019, and solidifying his hold on the title by unseating undefeated WBA welterweight "super" champion Keith Thurman in July 2019, to become the oldest fighter, at age 40, to win a title at 147-pounds.  

In March 2020, the world shut down as it battled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manny (62-7-2, 39 KOs), who had been training in his native Philippines for six weeks, recently moved his training camp to world-famous Freddie Roach’s Hollywood-based Wild Card Boxing Club as he prepares for his August 21 mega battle with unified WBC/IBF welterweight world champion Errol Spence, Jr. (27-0, 21 KOs), from Desoto, Texas.

On January 29 of this year, Team Pacquiao explain that without any advance notice or warning, the WBA announced that it had designated Manny a “Champion in Recess” while promoting "regular" champion Yordenis Ugas to "super" champion status.

Pacquiao recently petitioned to reclaim his WBA "super" champion status, but he was recently denied by the sanctioning body. He argued that Ugas hadn’t fought since winning the WBA "regular" welterweight title on September 6, 2020.  

“I can tell you what Manny didn’t receive – due process and respect,” said Sean Gibbons, president of MP Promotions.  “It took two years to get the world title belt he earned inside the ring by beating the undefeated 'super' champion Keith Thurman.  Hell, Manny only received that belt on Saturday.

"The WBA never inquired about Manny’s title defense plans.  The WBA never warned us Manny’s 'super' champion status could be in jeopardy.  The WBA never informed us that Manny had been designated its 'Champion in Recess.'  We had to read the WBA’s press release on that on the internet.  And speaking of Keith Thurman, the WBA had no concern about his lack of activity when he went over 22 months between title defenses (Danny Garcia on March 4, 2017, and Josesito Lopez on January 26, 2019).  

"Recess is over.  The two best fighters in the welterweight division are facing each other.  It should be celebrated and properly recognized.  The Ring is even blessing the winner as its welterweight champion.  This is not a sanctioning group.  It is a used car lot.  Take my advice.  Before paying the WBA a sanctioning fee, kick the tires and read the warranty.  Perhaps their new slogan should be Caveat Emptor."