Where EAST meets the Northwest
FINAL FIGHT? Manny Pacquiao answers questions during a news conference in
Beverly Hills, California. Pacquiao is scheduled to face Timothy Bradley on
April 9 in Las Vegas for the World Boxing Organization welterweight title.
Pacquiao insists it will be the final time he steps out of a boxing ring. (AP
From The Asian Reporter, V26, #3 (February 1, 2016), page 8.
Manny Pacquiao insists he’ll retire after Bradley rematch
By Greg Beacham
AP Sports Writer
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — With a beatific politician’s smile on his face, Manny
Pacquiao calmly insisted he’ll step out of a boxing ring for the final time on
April 9 after his third fight with Timothy Bradley.
After all, the eight-division champion has a senatorial campaign to plan and
a loving family to please. The 37-year-old Filipino phenomenon quietly claims
the spring is a good time to take his last punch.
"I’m so happy hanging up my gloves after this fight," Pacquiao said. "I’m
sure I’ll feel sad after that, but that’s life. It’s time, I think."
That note of uncertainty is familiar to Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum. After
a half-century in the fight game, the Top Rank boss knows a boxer’s word on
retirement is hardly ever the last one.
"I will not promote it as Manny’s last fight," Arum said. "He says he’s going
to retire, and maybe he will. The truth is that you never know with any boxer,
but I haven’t known Manny to say things he doesn’t mean. But we all realize this
could be the last time he fights."
Nearly nine months after he failed to hurt Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the most
lucrative fight in boxing history, Pacquiao is back stateside to promote his
grand finale. His camp insists Pacquiao is recovered from shoulder surgery
required to repair a rotator cuff injury that affected the Mayweather bout, and
he’ll be ready for a full training camp with Freddie Roach.
Pacquiao realizes that if he looks impressive in beating Bradley, he could
stoke interest in a healthy rematch with Mayweather, who retired last fall. Even
after their anti-climactic first meeting, a second bout would be another
enormous financial windfall for the two biggest stars in boxing.
Pacquiao insists it’s irrelevant to look beyond Bradley.
"(Mayweather) retired already, so I’m going to retire also after this fight,"
Pacquiao said. "I never regret. In fact, I thought I won the fight. A lot of
people, my fans, believe I won the fight. ... I know (it’s time to retire)
because after this, I have another big responsibility in the Philippines, which
is serving the people. My family wanted me to retire before I fought Mayweather.
I started this boxing just to help my mother, and I’ll end my boxing career to
help the country."
Pacquiao will face Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas,
completing a trilogy between two of the world’s top welterweights. Bradley won a
hotly disputed split decision over Pacquiao in their first meeting in June 2012,
but Pacquiao earned a unanimous decision victory in the April 2014 rematch.
Pacquiao is certain he won the first fight, and his opinion is shared by
Roach and Arum, who promotes both fighters. Bradley believes he won the rematch,
a position shared by fewer observers.
Arum considered the likes of Terence Crawford and Amir Khan to be Pacquiao’s
final opponent. Arum said the rising Crawford, likely a future pay-per-view
star, was deemed too unknown by executives from the cable companies and
satellite providers charged with selling the bout. Arum said Khan "was pretty
much a non-starter because they kept shifting the goalpost on me and had an
inflated idea of what he was worth."
With a guaranteed $20 million payday, Pacquiao happily agreed to take on
Bradley for a third time.
He claims the reasons weren’t just financial: Pacquiao believes Bradley "has
changed" since their last two fights, and he wants to see how he’ll do against
the revamped version of an already tenacious opponent.
Bradley hired veteran trainer Teddy Atlas before his last bout with Brandon
Rios, celebrating the change with a ninth-round stoppage victory.
"I heard Manny Pacquiao chose me because he knows me," Bradley said. "I think
I’m different now, I honestly do. I think this fight will be different than the
first two altercations we had."
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