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In the Pacquiao locker, no sign of farewell

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 11:24 PM April 10, 2016
A beaming Manny Pacquiao shows up at the post-fight press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA

A beaming Manny Pacquiao shows up at the post-fight press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA

LAS VEGAS—The scene could have come straight out of any other fight.

People shuffled in and out of the locker room while Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao went through his postfight routine.

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Assistant trainer Marvin Somodio helped cut the tape off his hands. A doctor went through the required postbout checkup.

Members of his ever-expanding entourage would talk to him. Strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune. Trainer Freddie Roach. Everyone.

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There was hardly any indication that this was the locker room of a boxing star who would walk out one final time and never return.

“If you ask me about my condition, about my body, my body is still okay,” Pacquiao later said in a press conference. “I can still give a good fight. I can still prepare for a fight and train hard.”

It sure looked like it.

Pacquiao was recalling some of the moments of his unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley on Saturday at MGM Grand to anyone who would listen. He answered questions about certain portions of the match, the others he said he could no longer remember. He had so much energy that it seemed he was just about to get into the ring.

The atmosphere was festive. There was none of the heavy air of nostalgia that hovered over his camp in the days leading to this, the final fight of a storied career.

Pacquiao hugged wife Jinkee and posed for pictures with her. More people came—family, journalists, politicians, friends—and had their own photo sessions with the eight-division champ. His two sons, Jimuel and Michael, entered and he hugged and kissed both.

There was absolutely no sign that Pacquiao was coming off a gruelling 12-round prizefight. And very little sign that he had fought his last fight.

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Everything out of nothing

“I’m happy with my accomplishments in boxing,” he said. “Remember, I came from nothing and I never imagined I would accomplish everything I did in boxing.”

After getting dressed, Pacquiao and part of his entourage made its way to the media center to talk to journalists who had his retirement on top of their minds.

One by one, the people filed out until there was nothing but an empty locker room. There were still reminders of how it had housed greatness one cold, rainy Saturday afternoon. Posters still hung on its walls. Empty bottles and other refuse were scattered around.

The cleaning personnel that started to go inside could mistake it for just another locker room to clean up.

But until Pacquiao breaks his word on retirement, this is the last place the champion would be in his element, garbed in boxing attire, sweat dripping all over, hands taped and his expression lit up by a smile that only boxing could bring to his face.

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TAGS: Boxing, Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley
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