Despite the demands of legislative work, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is climbing back to the ring.
Pacquiao confirmed yesterday that he would come out of retirement to fight World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on Nov. 5 in Las Vegas.
The senator issued a statement confirming the bout, saying he would conduct his entire training camp in the Philippines so he could also attend to his legislative work, as he promised during the election campaign.
“Yes, the fight is on. I have agreed to a Nov. 5 (fight) with reigning WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas,” Pacquiao said.
“Boxing is my passion. I miss what I’d been doing inside the gym and atop the ring,” he added.
“My entire training camp will be held here in the Philippines so I can attend to my legislative work. This is my campaign promise and I’m determined to keep it,” Pacquiao said.
His adviser, Michael Koncz, said there would be a promotional tour from Sept. 8 to 10 in Los Angeles, after which Pacquiao and his team would go home so he could attend to his Senate duties.
The 37-year-old Pacquiao said he was excited to return to the ring and said he had to fight again to earn a living.
Main source of income
Before his last fight in April, he said that he would retire. During the campaign for the May 9 elections, he assured voters that he would focus on legislative work if elected to the Senate.
Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs), a 27-year-old American, said last week he was in talks with Pacquiao’s camp to hold a fight in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao, who rose from an impoverished childhood, said boxing was his main source of income.
He said he could not rely just on his salary as a public official.
Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) met for two hours with Bob Arum, the head of Top Rank Boxing, in Makati City on Tuesday night and they would meet again soon for the contract signing, Koncz said.
It would be Pacquiao’s second fight this year, after decisively beating American Timothy Bradley in April.
“He wanted it. I wouldn’t convince him one way or the other. But I’m happy he’s doing that fight,” Arum told reporters at the Senate, where he was a guest at the regular session.
Arum described Vargas as a “tough” opponent for Pacquiao.
“Manny doesn’t want easy fights,” he said.
“[Vargas] is not an opponent who goes into his shell, who’s a defensive fighter. He’s very, very offensive, he is beginning to really punch with authority,” he said.
Vargas beat 2008 US Olympian Sadam Ali in March to clinch the WBO title.
Pacquiao earlier denied he had plans of coming out of retirement, saying legislative work was his priority.
The champion, however, did not completely shut the door to fighting again, saying he would do so only when the Senate was in recess.
‘That’s up to him’
Asked if he thought Pacquiao could attend to his legislative work while training, Arum said it was entirely up to Pacquiao.
“I don’t know how extensive the work is as a senator in the Philippines. Manny does, the other senators do, they all feel, and Manny feels, that he can train here in Manila and not miss any sessions, fight in the period when the Senate is in recess, and give a great performance,” he said.
“In fact, whether he can do that or not, that’s up to him. It’s something that we have never ever seen before in the sport of boxing,” he added.
For the promotional tour, Arum said Pacquiao would fly to Los Angeles after the Senate session on Sept. 7, stay there for three days, and fly back to Manila to begin training.
Arum said Pacquiao would return to Manila with his trainer Freddie Roach and set up camp to start his training.
Pacquiao will start by running and will be in the Senate in the afternoon of Sept. 12.
The Senate holds sessions on Monday to Wednesday, starting at 3 p.m.
Pacquiao’s Senate victory is the latest chapter in his stunning rags-to-riches story.
He had worked odd jobs before lacing up the gloves at the age of 12.
He rose steadily and became a champion in eight boxing divisions, making him one of the world’s most celebrated and wealthiest athletes.
He had represented southern Sarangani province in the House of Representatives since May 2010, though he had been criticized for seldom showing up for legislative duties due to his preoccupation with boxing.
2 more fights
If Pacquiao beats Vargas, Arum sees two more fights in 2017 before the Filipino champ really retires.
“If he wins this fight, we have the idea for a couple of big fights next year. And I think that will end his career,” Arum said.
Arum is looking at Terrence Crawford as a possible opponent for Pacquiao and even a possible rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“Crawford is a possibility and, who knows, Mayweather may be a possibility. You know, Mayweather’s making noises about returning and going to a 50th fight,” Arum said.
Pacquiao lost to Mayweather by unanimous decision in the May 2015 “Fight of the Century.”
The Filipino champ’s camp later disclosed that he fought with an injured right shoulder.
“Let’s see Manny with a fully healed shoulder. I think Manny would give a lot better account of himself in that fight. I thought it was a very close fight. I thought Manny could have won that fight. When they fight again, if they fight again, I have no doubt that Manny will win,” Arum said.
SOURCE : INQUIRER.NET