Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, eager to trade his boxing gloves for public service, delivered what sounded like a farewell speech rather than drumbeat his April 9 bout with Tim Bradley.
While Pacquiao touched on the subject matter of facing Bradley for the third time, it was his remark about retirement that took the spotlight during the kickoff press conference of his two-city promotional tour.
Pacquiao profusely thanked those who helped him in becoming what he is today, an all-time great owing to his being boxing’s only eight-division world champion.
But the 37-year-old Pacquiao maintained that he has reached a dead-end and since he is running for a seat in the Senate, he might as well devote his time in “serving the Filipino people.”
“I am sure I will feel sad but that’s life,” he said.
Pacquiao’s showdown with Bradley will be his 26th on US soil stretching back to mid-2001.
Pacquiao reasoned that public service is simply hard to ignore.
“Before, I wanted to go into boxing because I wanted to help my family. But now I am ending my boxing because I want to help my countrymen,” said Pacquiao, who was applauded by those in attendance at the Crystal Ballroom of The Beverly Hills Hotel.
Top Rank chief Bob Arum, the master of ceremonies for the nth time, admits that it will pain him to see Pacquiao disappear into the horizon.
“It (Pacquiao’s last fight) could be and could very well be (his last fight),” said Arum. “I can’t get to grips that this will be his last…he always gave his everything and if this is truly the last time, Manny, it’s been a great ride and thank you.”
Still, Arum feels that Pacquiao might have a change of heart since retirement, he said, is the most abused word in the fight game.
Muhammad Ali did retire once and came back while Sugar Ray Leonard did it three times before returning to the ring.
Pacquiao actually has a live contract with Top Rank and Arum declared that since the fighter was sidelined because of a right shoulder injury sustained during his loss to Floyd Mayweather, his contract will extend until 2017 instead of the end of this year.
“When he returns, don’t blame me.”
A huge part of Pacquiao’s decision to call it quits was Mayweather being retired.
But if Mayweather comes knocking, Arum believes Pacquiao will make a comeback.
“I don’t know how busy is he going to be in the Senate, (but) he won’t turn it (a rematch with Mayweather) down.”
Pacquiao will be so juiced up for a chance at exacting payback, according to Arum.
“Even if it meant training on the Senate floor (for a Mayweather rematch),” he added.
Courtesy of Nick Giongco of the Manila Bulletin. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickSpeaks