Despite recent statements made by Top Rank CEO Bob Arum about a possible return to boxing for former eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, the Filipino superstar says he currently has no concrete plans to take his place back in the upper echelons of the sport that made him famous.
Pacquiao took to his official Facebook page to address fans and media, denying reports that he was negotiating a comeback fight and that Arum was previously in talks with various possible opponents.
“There is no truth to the media reports that I’m planning to take a leave from my senate duties just to fight again atop the ring,” Pacquiao stated in the press release. “I want to make it clear – my priority is my legislative works. My next fight has not yet been discussed. Should there be any, I’ll make sure it will not interfere with my senate duties.”
Pacquiao last fought in early April, earning a 12-round unanimous decision over American Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After the fight, he announced his retirement from boxing to focus on a full-time political career.
Although many pundits, including Arum himself, never truly believed Pacquiao was done with the sport, the Filipino fighter stayed true to his word of retirement and placed all of his efforts into campaigning for a seat at the Philippine senate which he won in the recent elections.
“When I ran for senator last May 9 elections, I made a promise to be present in all sessions,” Pacquiao continued on the release. “I owe it to the people.”
Still, despite Pacquiao’s denial, he made sure to keep the door slightly open to make a comeback.
“If ever I decide to fight again, rest assured, it will happen when congress is on recess so there’s no need for me to go on leave,” Pacquiao added. “The entire training will be done in the Philippines to ensure I can attend sessions even while on training camp.”
Arum on the other hand, spoke with ESPN’s Dan Rafael recently, and had much more tangible evidence regarding Pacquiao’s comeback plans as compared to the Philippine senator’s vague blanket statements.
“Manny wants to come back. The problem is he can only come back if it doesn’t interfere with his senate duties,” Arum told ESPN. “We had penciled him in for Oct. 15 at Mandalay Bay but we were informed that is no longer possible. The question is building availability because we want to do the fight in Las Vegas.”
One to believe Pacquiao was never going to end his career fighting Bradley last April, Arum has kept in close contact with Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz, keeping the Filipino on the radar.
“Michael [Koncz] said Manny definitely wants to fight again. Not even a question,” said Arum.
Koncz also said in the same interview that although Pacquiao desires a return to boxing, he still places his senatorial duties and obligations in first priority.
“But he (Pacquiao) just misses [boxing]. He misses the training. He misses being in the gym. You can see when he trains it’s like a stress reliever for him. His mood changes. It’s like he’s in happy land,” said Koncz. By Carlos Miguel Cinco
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