Pacquiao plans return to ring, says promoter
LAS VEGAS—Manny Pacquiao isn’t ready to give up his night job just yet.
Pacquiao, who said before his last fight in April that he would retire, now plans to return to the ring in November against an opponent who has yet to be selected.
Promoter Bob Arum on Tuesday said that Pacquiao got permission to take a break from his new duties as a senator in the Philippines to take another fight. It will be held on Nov. 5, likely in Las Vegas.
“He likes to fight and he likes the attention,” Arum said.
But in a statement, the Filipino boxing idol, who has a record of 58-6-2 with 38 knockouts, denied any firm plans on a fight.
“There is no truth to media reports that I’m planning to take a leave from my Senate duties just to fight again atop the ring. I want to make it clear—my priority is my legislative work,” Pacquiao said.
“My next fight has not yet been discussed. Should there be any, I’ll make sure it will not interfere with my Senate duties,” he said.
The boxer said all his training would take place in the Philippines so that he could keep participating in Senate proceedings.
He typically spends half his time training in the Philippines and the other half in the United States.
“Boxing is my only means of livelihood to support my family and to help those who are in need,” Pacquiao said.
“Politics, to me, is a vocation not a means to eke out a living. I want to maintain that belief. I want to keep my dignity intact while in public service,” he added.
In May, Pacquiao, a former congressman, promised to bat for perfect attendance in Senate sessions, hoping to change his image as an absentee lawmaker. In an interview in Davao City, Pacquiao said he declined the proposal for him to compete in the Rio Olympics in August so he could focus on legislation.
Pacquiao looked impressive in his last fight in April, returning from a layoff to knock down American Timothy Bradley on his way to a unanimous decision. After the fight, he wavered on his previous plans to retire.
“If you ask me to come back, I don’t know,” Pacquiao said. “I may be enjoying retired life. I’m not there yet so I just don’t know.”
Pacquiao was elected to the Senate in May and there were fears that increased duties would prevent him from fighting again.
But Arum said the head of the Senate told Pacquiao that he was free to fight after the country’s budget is settled on Oct. 15.
“He would train in the Philippines and leave on the 16th to come to the US, train for two weeks and then come to Vegas,” Arum said. “The only issue is getting an arena for the fight.”
The promoter said he was talking with MGM Resorts about an arena to host the fight. He had reserved Mandalay Bay arena for Oct. 15, but Pacquaio can’t leave his Senate duties that early.
The fight also could be at UNLV campus arena, he said, though UNLV would have to move a scheduled basketball exhibition from the date.
There were reports that Pacquiao might fight Adrien Broner (32-2, 24 KOs), but Arum said the latter wanted the same money as Pacquiao, which was a nonstarter.
Another possible opponent would be Jesse Vargas, who fights for Top Rank and holds a piece of the welterweight title.
Other potential opponents could be undefeated Terence Crawford or Viktor Postol, who will meet in a July 23 fight.
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz told ESPN that he was working with both Arum and Pacquiao on fight plans.
“Manny’s primary concern and obligation is to fulfill his senatorial duties,” Koncz said. “But he misses [boxing]. He misses the training. He misses being in the gym. You can see when he trains it’s like a stress reliever for him. Reports from AP, AFP and Tarra Quismundo in Manila
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