(UPDATE) Pacquiao retiring next year; to run in 2010

Puno swears boxer into Kampi at Crame

By Abigail Kwok

MANILA, Philippines -- Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao on Monday said he is retiring from the ring next year and will be running again for public office in the 2010 elections.

?Sigurado na, na tatakbo ako [It is sure, I am running],? said Pacquiao at Camp Crame, headquarters of the Philippine National Police, where he was sworn in as member of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi, Partner of the Free Filipino), by Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, who is also president of the party founded by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Pacquiao, who said he is retiring August next year, made boxing history in June when he became the first Asian and first Filipino to win four world titles by knocking out David Diaz to take the WBC lightweight belt.

He is scheduled to fight Oscar ?The Golden Boy? De la Hoya December 6 ikn Las Vegas and will be flying to the United States on September 14 to prepare for the bout.

?Isang malaking karangalan talaga na makalaban ko si Oscar. Hindi ko akalaing makasasagupa ko siya, [It is a great honor to fight Oscar. I never imagined I would go up against him,? Pacquiao said, adding that he would fight, at most, two more time before hanging up his gloves for good.

Pacquiao said his parents want the De La Hoya fight to be his last. The two will slug it out at the 147-pound welterweight division.

?My parents wanted me to retire after the De La Hoya fight. But I feel I can still fight two more fights,? Pacquiao said.

Puno said although there is no decision yet on what position Pacquiao will run for, ?malaki ang maitutulong niya kung tatakbo siya bilang [he will be a great help if he runs for] congressman or as a local government official.?

In the May 2007 elections, Pacquiao contested the congressional seat of the first district of South Cotabato but lost by a landslide to Representative Darlene Antonino-Custodio.

Puno said the one year lull between boxing and the elections should not be a disadvantage for Pacquiao.

?Magpapahinga siya, maglalaan ng isang taon para maghanda sa halalan. Siguro naman hindi siya makakalimutan ng tao sa loob ng isang taon. Baka sa isang dekada pa [He will rest [and] will have a year to prepare for the elections. Surely, people will not forget him in just one year. It might take a decade for them to do that],? Puno said.

Alcuin Papa, Phil Daily Inquirer

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