Politician-pugilist Pacquiao ponders future
LAS VEGAS—Manny Pacquiao is looking at life beyond boxing, the welterweight champion and Filipino Congressman pondering the day when his fights in the ring are done and his political battles intensify.
The 32-year-old southpaw defends his World Boxing Organization welterweight title on Saturday against Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez, completing the 17th year of a pro boxing career that launched his rise into an Asian sport icon.
“I’m starting to think of my future life outside boxing,” Pacquiao said. “(I will fight) a couple more years. I’m still going to fight. I have a number in mind (when I will retire) but I won’t tell you.”
This will be Pacquiao’s second fight since being elected a Philippines Congressman representing Sarangani province, a juggling act that so far has not hindered his careers in boxing, lawmaking or as a singer.
“I’m handling being a Congressman and a boxer,” Pacquiao said. “I’m managing my time and I have time for being a boxer and a Congressman.”
Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, raised the notion this week that Pacquiao would run for provincial governor in 2013, then for a Philippines Senate seat in 2016 and look at a presidential bid in 2022.
“His term is up in 2013, when he will run for governor of Sarangani province and probably win,” Arum said. “That’s the end of boxing… as a governor you’ve got to run the whole province. So that’s what he’s going to concentrate on.”
Asked if he could be a governor and still fight, Pacquiao said, “I don’t know. Right now, I can still fight.”
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, says that as far as boxing talent and work ethic, Pacquiao can fight long beyond 2013.
“He can fight for years more if he wants to. He has the motivation,” Roach said. “Manny Pacquiao has as many fights as he wants.”
Roach has seen other fighters try to leave the ring behind only to be lured back into boxing.
“Boxing is very addictive,” Roach said.
Pacquiao has been a world champion in eight weight divisions, a feat unmatched in boxing history and one that he sees as his great achievement.
“For me, the titles in all the weight divisions is the hardest thing,” said Pacquiao.
Many boxing fans have been disappointed that Pacquiao has not been able to fight Floyd Mayweather, the unbeaten American boxer who has taunted Pacquiao but never agreed to a fight deal.
Pacquiao has agreed to all types of doping tests in a failed bid to make a Mayweather deal, but he does not see a Mayweather fight as something he must have before concluding his career.
“Whoever I have to fight the rest of my career, I’m satisfied. I don’t need somebody else to be satisfied with what I’ve done. I don’t need to be chasing a fight.”
If the long-sought Mayweather matchup remains out of reach, undefeated world junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley of the United States is a likely next foe for Pacquiao if the American wins on Saturday’s undercard.
“I’m happy with all I have done in boxing. I don’t think I need to prove more,” Pacquiao said. “I’ve proved everything. I just want to maintain it and give a good fight and excitement to the people.”
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