Durable Pacquiao rules out retirement

Abac Cordero - The Philippine Star
Durable Pacquiao rules out retirement
Manny Pacquiao celebrates his victory over Keith Thurman in their WBA welterweight title fight at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada Saturday.

Hints at ring return in early 2020

LOS ANGELES – Manny Pacquiao likened himself to Muhammad Ali then described Saturday’s encounter with previously undefeated Keith Thurman as “a real fight.”

Pacquiao, who left Las Vegas for Manila at around 6 p.m. Sunday (US time) on board a private plane, has also ruled out retirement.

The 40-year-old ring legend hinted at returning to the ring either in February or March next year. 

“We’ve done two fights this year. I could be a candidate for Fighter of the Year, and the (Thurman) fight as Fight of the Year,” he said.

Pacquiao is not thinking of retirement – unless something, health-related or otherwise, gets in the way. 

It was his trainer, Freddie Roach, who raised the possibility that the WBA welterweight title fight with Thurman could be the last for Pacquiao.

“It could be over. There may be no next (fight),” he said.

Roach said he has yet to sit down with Pacquiao after the thrilling split decision fashioned out before a crowd of 14,356 that included Floyd Mayweather Jr.

He hopes to have a word with Pacquiao after the celebration cools down.

Roach said it’s just too early to talk about the who, where and when of Pacquiao’s next fight – if ever there will be one.

“Right now, the fight just happened, it was a great fight. It’s really really too soon to make a decision right now,” Roach said.

“He (Pacquiao) looked good. I’m a little bit worried that he may have took too many punches,” added Roach.

Pacquiao came out smoking against Thurman, knocking down the previously undefeated American right in the first round. But he couldn’t finish him off the rest of the way despite hurting the native of Florida a few more times.

Pacquiao slowed down in the middle rounds, and Roach said it was “unusual” and that, yes, it could be Father Time catching up on the 24-year veteran of the brutal sport.

“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 at this point,” said Roach.

“He fatigued a little bit in that fight. That was very unusual. Maybe his training coach gave him too many days off,” he said.

Roach did not elaborate. 

“I mean we can’t get away from Father Time,” he said.

Pacquiao tried to look back at Saturday’s fight and the victory that made him the oldest welterweight champion.

“Nagalit yung bigote ko, eh (I got mad),” he said in jest.

Thurman, the fighting senator admitted, was a worthy opponent, and perhaps the toughest he’d faced since Antonio Margarito in a light-middleweight contest in 2010.

Pacquiao won that fight, but took punishment like never before. 

Pacquiao said he relaxed a bit in the middle rounds, and Thurman took it as the opportunity to get back into the fight. 

“I relaxed and I was timing him. He took advantage of that and earned some points. But he was heavy-handed,” said Pacquiao.

He must have watched a replay of the fight or the highlights of what could or should be the Fight of the Year.

“I was fast. I moved like Muhammad Ali,” said Pacquiao.

At least twice during the fight, Pacquiao did the famous Ali shuffle.

Yes, he looked good – and old, too.




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