Manny Pacquiao, the only fighter in history to win eight world titles in different divisions, raised his right arm upward and showed no discomfort in appearing to have fully recovered from a torn rotator cuff suffered during his fight against Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas last May.
“No problem,” said Pacquiao displaying full vertical extension on his arm during a break at the 2019 FIBA World Cup bidding event in Tokyo last Friday. “I’m fine. It’s God’s work. I never saw a doctor. I never did rehab. All I did was to swim in the sea as often as I could. The salt water healed my wound.”
Pacquiao’s business manager Eric Pineda, who was also in Tokyo, called it a miraculous recovery. “Manny has strong faith,” he said. “God did it. And all that swimming in the sea helped. Now, there’s talk of his comeback fight.”
Pineda wouldn’t divulge what’s in the oven but a news report came out yesterday quoting Top Rank promoter Bob Arum conjuring visions of a Pacquiao bout against UK Olympic silver medalist Amir Khan in Dubai or Las Vegas. Arum is supposedly meeting with Khan’s team in London this weekend to discuss the possibility of a match in March next year.
Arum said Khan should’ve been given a crack at fighting Mayweather on Sept. 12 and said it’s a “farce” that The Best Ever is facing shop-worn, easy-to-hit Andre Berto. Khan has been bypassed as an opponent at least twice by Mayweather who seems to think the Englishman of Pakistan descent is a risky proposition. Arum said if Mayweather isn’t inclined to give Khan a chance, Pacquiao is.
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Khan, 28, has a 31-3 record, with 19 KOs, compared to Pacquiao’s 57-6-2, with 38 KOs. Pacquiao will be 37 if and when they meet next year. Khan has won his last five outings while Pacquiao is 3-3 in his last six. Khan’s last five victims were Carlos Molina, Julio Diaz, Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri. Only Molina didn’t go the distance with Khan. As for Pacquiao, his last three victims were Brandon Rios, Timothy Bradley and Algieri. His last three tormentors were Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Mayweather.
Arum welcomed a Pacquiao-Khan battle and said it will be a test for both fighters. He picked Pacquiao to win because Khan wouldn’t be able to withstand the power of his punches. Khan has been stopped twice, by Breidis Prescott in the first round and Danny Garcia in the fourth. He lost a split decision to Lamont Peterson. Khan was decked by Willie Limond and Diaz before winning in two close calls. Since Khan has taken a lot of trips to the canvas, the consensus is he won’t last long with Pacquiao.
Arum said another fight he’s arranging is WBA superbantamweight champion Scott Quigg against Nonito Donaire, Jr. That could be staged in Dubai or somewhere in England before the year ends. Donaire has no preference as to where to face Quigg. His goal is to become a world champion again and Quigg is his ticket to achieving that aim.
A possibility is for Pacquiao to fight Khan in Manila but that would depend on sponsors putting up the money to make it happen. Arum will evaluate the money involved in staging Pacquiao’s comeback fight in Manila, Dubai and Las Vegas before making a recommendation.
Pacquiao readily agreed to join the Philippine delegation in Tokyo. The two other Congressman who made the trip were Rep. Robbie Puno of Antipolo and Rep. Rey Umali of Oriental Mindoro. The other elected government officials in the delegation were Sen. Sonny Angara and Mayor Monico Puentevella of Bacolod.
“It’s not easy to convince Manny to take a trip,” said Pineda. “There has to be a cause involved, something he’s supporting. He wanted to show his support for the Philippine bid to host the World Cup.” Pacquiao went to Tokyo with wife Jinkee and a party of 10.
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At the sidelines of the bidding event, Pacquiao and retired NBA player Yao Ming were mobbed by media. They obliged the press by answering questions of any variety. In a press conference, Pacquiao said the Philippine bid was anchored on the Filipinos’ passion for the game.
“More than 100 million Filipinos will be supporting the World Cup if ever we host it,” he said. “The impact will be major. As a boxer, I love basketball. Our objective is to be able to show the world not only our passion for the game but also our ability to host a major sporting event.” The Philippines, however, lost to China in the bidding by a vote of 14-7 from the FIBA Central Board.
While Pacquiao was focused on backing the Philippine bid, it didn’t stop media from bombarding him with questions about boxing. Someone asked if he thought Berto has a chance of beating Mayweather. Pacquiao nodded, saying, “yes, he has a chance.” He didn’t elaborate. Another asked if he’d like to face Mayweather in a rematch. Once again, Pacquiao nodded, saying, “yes,” nothing else. Clearly, he didn’t want to take attention away from the Philippine bid. It was why Pacquiao was in Tokyo after all.
Regarding Pacquiao’s arm, Arum was quoted as remarking that the recovery is unbelievable. Apparently, Pacquiao has sent images of extending his arm to Arum who in turn showed them to doctors. Arum said the doctors were amazed at the recovery. Pacquiao just never ceases to amaze.