Pacman starts waving goodbye
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2016 - 9:00am

BEVERLY HILLS, California – Inside a ballroom packed with mediamen Tuesday noon, Manny Pacquiao dropped a hint of how his retirement speech would sound.

Once again, the boxer who has electrified the sport for the past decade insisted that his April 9 showdown with Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas will be his last.

Retirement comes right after.

“Maybe this is our last time,” he said.

“Maybe this is our last time to see each other. For the last time I want to thank you all. Without you I will not be here,” Pacquiao went on.

Pacquiao is running for senator in the May 11 elections back home. Early surveys suggest that he’ll end up winning one of the 12 slots being disputed.

Therefore, he has decided to quit boxing because if he wins in May, he said he can’t be a senator and boxer at the same time.

Facing the crowd, Pacquiao said retirement is bittersweet.

“I’m so happy I’m hanging up my gloves after this fight. I’m sure I will feel sad after that but that’s life,” said boxing’s only eight-division world champion.

“Not all the time you keep on fighting and not all the time you’re in the ring,” he said.

“And I remember when I started I wanted to help my family, my mother. Now I end my boxing career because I want to help my countrymen, the Filipino people,” he added.

Like his speeches in the past, this one came from the heart.

Even Bob Arum, the greatest boxing promoter, sounded emotional as he introduced Pacquiao during the press conference, the first of two drumming up the April 9 fight in Las Vegas.

On Wednesday, Pacquiao and Bradley fly to New York for another press event at Madison Square Garden.

“There’s been talk that this may be Manny’s last fight. I can’t believe it. It could be or it may very well be. I can’t come to grips with the fact that this will be the last,” said Arum.

“Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. That’s up to Manny. But if truly this is the last time, Manny, it’s been a great ride and I want to thank you for everything,” he said.

Still, the chief of Top Rank Promotions is hanging on to thoughts that Pacquiao would continue fighting.

There are battles to be fought.

There’s Terence Crawford and who knows, even Floyd Mayweather.

By April, boxing’s two biggest superstars, Pacquiao and Mayweather, will both be in retirement, but it’s no guarantee that they can fight once more.

Retirement in boxing, Arum agreed, is never cast in stone.

“That’s why I didn’t want to sell this fight as his last fight. I’m not sure. Maybe it will. He can fight Crawford. And who knows what Mayweather’s going to do.

“It will be wrong for me to say anything because I haven’t talked to Floyd. So, I’m not saying that (retirement). When he (Pacquiao) returns, don’t blame me,” said Arum.

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