|WORLD BOXING ICON Manny Pacquiao inside the ring with Timothy Bradley
By EDDIE G. ALINEA
Special to Philippines Today
GENERAL SANTOS CITY/SAN FRANCISCO (via PhilAmPress) – Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao is firm on his retirement after his “last fight” against American world champion Timothy Bradley on April 9 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacquiao, who earlier expressed the wish to fight undefeated world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a rematch after his defeat from the champion in their first encounter in Las Vegas, stressed his bout against Bradley, their third, will be his final and retirement fight.
The Filipino fighting congressman ruled out a rematch with Mayweather, who equalled the 49-0 record, saying it was wishful thinking, pointing out that the undefeated American champion has already retired and was unlikely to return to the ring.
Bradley is the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight belt-owner whom Pacquiao will be facing for the third time in four years on April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao, who celebrated his 37th birthday last December 17, intimated in a long distance interview on New Year’s eve from General Santos City where he spent the Holiday Season with his family, that after his fight against Bradley, he will concentrate on his work as a lawmaker. Pacquiao is now the congressman of the lone district of Sarangani and is running for senator in the May 9, 2016 elections under the ticket of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Pacquiao, who has a record of 57 fights, 38 of which were won by knockout, six losses and two draws in a professional career spanning more than 20 years, said he was confident of winning a Senate seat in the May elections. Surveys showed that he is in the Magic 12 winning circle.
“I am retiring from boxing to concentrate on my political career. My fight with Timothy Bradley will be my last,” Pacquiao stressed in an interview as he dismissed reports that he would not step away from the sport without a rematch with Mayweather.
“I did not say anything like that. Nobody interviewed me about that. I will retire after my April 9 fight,” he said.
Pacquiao lost by unanimous decision to Mayweather in what was billed as the “Fight of the Century” and turned out to be the richest boxing bout in history. Pacquiao fought the American with a torn rotator cuff that later required surgery in Los Angeles.
He has won 57 fights, including 38 knockouts, lost six and had two draws in a professional career spanning more than 20 years after being raised in poverty.
Following a shutout victory over Andre Berto last September, Mayweather hang his gloves for for good after tying Rocky Marciano’s professional record of 49-0.
Pacquiao said his team selected Bradley as his next opponent following his loss to Mayweather, saying the WBO 147-pounds champion, the erstwhile unbeaten American, known as the “Desert Storm,” is one of the best welterweights there is in the entire universe.
Besides, unlike junior welterweight titleholder Terence “Bud” Crawford, Briton Amir Khan and up-and-coming Adrien Broner, Bradley, who beat Pacquiao via a questionable split decision in June 2012, a setback he avenged in an overwhelming unanimous verdict two years later, has already proven his worth as a PPV attraction.
The “Fighter of the Decade” honoree of the Boxing Writers Association of America added Bradley’s 9th round stoppage of Brandon Rios last year also did it for the Californian fighter. Pacquiao only managed a unanimous decision triumph over Rios two years ago.
“So contrary to what some sectors believe, the choice of Bradley was not based solely on a business standpoint,” he explained. “There were many factors our team, headed by promoter Bob Arum, considered.”
“And the most important, of course, was what fight can give fans the enjoyment and excitement they expect, which, actually is my primary criteria in choosing an opponent,” Pacquiao pointed out.
“Many, indeed, seemed dissatisfied with the choice, but what I can assure everybody is we made that decision having the interest of the boxing public in mind,” Pacquiao assured. (Eddie G. Alinea/PhilAmPress)