CHICAGO — In the unsolved mystery as to who is Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent, the name Andre Berto has suddenly surfaced out of left field.

A name certainly not expected by most in the boxing world but then again, boxing likes to do this to us every now and then and land a walloping left hook of a surprise.

First reported by The Philippine Star, we have confirmed through an independent source deep inside PacMan’s camp that Berto is indeed in the running for the PacMan’s celebrated return to Las Vegas on either January 12 or January 19, 2019.

Although the 5-foot-7 Berto is long in the tooth at age is 35, he ain’t chopped liver.

A former Olympian and WBC welterweight champion, Berto flaunts an impressive record of 32 wins against five defeats with 24 KOs.

Even with Berto lurking as a possible foe, Adrien Broner, who infamously demanded a $100 million payday to trade punches with the Filipino icon, still looms as the favorite.

Either way, it’s almost certain Manny Pacquiao will fight an A,B. Adrien Broner or Andre Berto.

And if Pacquiao survives the testy tune-up, then it all systems go for the rumored Mayweather rematch on May 4, 2019.

More on this story as and when it unfolds.

Homer D. Sayson is a veteran journalist with a rich experience in print, broadcast and television media. He is currently a columnist and the U.S. editor of SPIN.ph. He is also a columnist and NBA page editor at PhilBoxing.com.