The way he scored the split decision victory over the brash American has the Philippine senator thinking Fight of the Year.
“Now, that’s what you call a real fight,” Pacquiao said in Filipino after becoming the oldest world welterweight champion at 40 years old.
“That should be candidate for Fight of the Year,” Pacquiao said.
But several floors down on the casino floor of MGM Grand, his long-time chief trainer and now consultant, Freddie Roach, was talking about the punishments Pacquiao sustained during that fight and how it may all accumulate through the years.
There was no doubt that Roach had other things in mind and sounded like one worried chap.
“Manny, he fought a great fight last night. He took a little too many hits, and maybe a little bit too much punishment,” said Roach. “So we have to sit down and talk and see who’s next or maybe it (fighting career) might be over.”
He didn’t say it straight, but Roach sounded like he’s favoring the suggestion of Pacquiao hanging up his gloves.
“He looked good [during the fight]. [But] I’m a little bit worried that he may have took too many punches,” said Roach, who has been with Pacquiao since he broke into stardom after knocking out Lehlo Ledwaba for the IBF super bantamweight title 18 years ago.
“So next time we speak, we need to sit down and talk about maybe what’s next. Maybe it’s over, maybe there’s no next [fight] at this point,” Roach added.
The Hall of Fame trainer famously had a falling out with Pacquiao after he told him that he should just choose between politics and boxing in the aftermath of his 2016 defeat to Jeff Horn.
“Because the last thing I want to happen to Manny is for him to get hurt,” said Roach. “I have always been honest with Manny.”
Now the problem is how to say it to Pacquiao, who was basking in victory in his glass-lined suite with a 180-degree view of the Las Vegas strip.
Talking about the opening round knock down of Thurman, Pacquiao said he was fired up by all the prefight hype. “Nagalit ang bigote ko eh (He got me worked up),” he said laughing.
“Did you see that I was even faster than him (Thurman),” said Pacquiao, who is 10 years older than Thurman. “When I want to make a move, he couldn’t catch me with my turns, it’s like Muhammad Ali’s.”
Clearly, Pacquiao and Roach have varying opinions about the future.
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