PACQUIAO SAYS HE CAN FIGHT FOR 3 MORE YEARS / DREAMS OF PRESIDENCY



PACQUIAO


SINGAPORE, AUGUST 5, 2013
(INQUIRER) Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said Friday that he can fight for another three years despite two successive losses, brushing aside calls for him to retire and focus on his political career.

He told journalists at a promotional event in Singapore, for his November 24 bout in Macau with American Brandon Rios, that his Mexican arch rival Juan Manuel Marquez just got lucky when they fought in December last year.

“It’s part of boxing, sometimes you lose, sometimes you win, and I think he just got the lucky chance, the lucky shot in that fight,” said Pacquiao, who crumpled to the canvas after a crushing right from Marquez in the sixth round.

Asked how much longer he sees himself in the ring, the 34-year-old, now serving a second term as a member of the House of Representatives, vowed that “as long as I can still fight, I am going to fight”.

“In my mind, I can still fight two to three years from now,” said Pacquiao, the only fighter in history to win world titles in eight different weight divisions.

A storm of controversy erupted in the Philippines last week after Pacquiao told Agence France-Presse he had considered running for president in the future, although a spokesman later said he had no immediate plans to further his political career and that he “knows very well” he cannot contest an election until he is aged 40.

Pacquiao’s seven-year, 15-bout winning streak came to an end in June 2012 with a controversial split decision loss to Timothy Bradley, followed six months later by the sensational defeat to Marquez in their fourth meeting.

He promised a good show when he meets Rios, who is seven years his junior, in Macau as part of the sport’s efforts to generate interest across Asia outside the boxing-mad Philippines.

“He’s a tough opponent,” Pacquiao said. “We can create a lot of action in the ring.”

Promoter Bob Arum, who joined the two fighters in Singapore, called Asia the “emerging frontier” for the sport, saying boxing needs to create a major presence in the region.

Rios, a former World Boxing Association lightweight champion, also promised an exciting bout.

“I don’t think it’s going the distance,” said the Californian, who lost a close decision to Mike Alvarado in March for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) interim junior welterweight title.

“We’ve both got something to prove. So we’re both going to be hungry and show that we’re not done yet.”

Pacquiao says he will consider running for president Agence France-Presse 10:56 am | Sunday, July 28th, 2013


Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao speaks during an AFP interview in Macau on July 27, 2013. Pacquiao will take on Brendon Rios in a welterweight bout in Macau on November 24. AFP PHOTO / Dale de la Rey

MACAU—Philippine boxing great Manny Pacquiao is harboring thoughts of running for president in his beloved homeland when he finally hangs up his gloves, he revealed to AFP in an exclusive interview.

Giving his strongest hint yet that he will push to the top of the political tree when he finally retires from the ring, the “Pacman” — a hero and congressman in his home country — admitted he had considered the presidency of the 95 million-strong nation.

When pressed on whether he had thought about shooting for the top job, the softly-spoken 34-year-old replied “Yes”.

Drawing parallels between his pugilism and politics careers, the former world champion in eight weight divisions said: “When I started boxing, of course I was planning, you know and thinking about getting to become a champion. So when I enter politics it’s the same thing.

“But, you know, it’s far away,” he said, adding: “It’s God’s will.”

Before that, however, Pacquiao whose record stands at 54 wins, five losses and two draws, must concentrate on his latest bout — a post breakfast-time tear-up with US fighter Brandon Rios, kicking off at the Venetian resort-hotel in Macau at 10:00 am on November 24.

The unconventional start time is for the benefit of the lucrative US pay-per-view audience, who will be settling down to watch the fight mid-evening on Saturday, as top US promoter Bob Arum attempts to elbow his way into the China market.

And viewers will not be oblivious to the fact that it is probably make or break time for Pacquiao’s boxing career.

Despite his last fight ending in a disastrous knockout, when Juan Manuel Marquez caught him with a huge right hand that saw the Filipino crumple to the canvas — his second successive defeat — Pacquiao refuses to entertain the notion that he will lose a third straight bout, or retire.

He said he was “100 percent” sure he would beat Rios (31-1-1), giving him one more chance to regain his credibility — and potentially another shot at a world title.

“He’s OK but I can say he’s a greasy fighter and he loves to fight inside, he loves to fight toe-to-toe,” he said in an interview on Saturday as he kicked off a promotional tour for the Rios battle.

“This is going to be a good fight — more action in the ring. Hopefully he won’t run away.”

Pacquiao insists he is as fit as ever, will focus on not leaving himself open to Marquez-style punishment, and has ignored calls from friends, family and media commentators, fearful for his health, to call it a day.

Once regarded as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter, he dismisses the possibility of defeat at the hands of the much younger — and possibly hungrier — US opponent.

“There’s a little bit of pressure for this fight but I believe in myself that I can still fight and improve,” he said. “I still can knock somebody out in the ring.

“I never think negative. I only think positive,” Pacquiao added, conceding that his nearest and dearest were desperate for him to bow out of the fight game.

“Especially my mother,” he admitted. “My mother doesn’t want me to fight any more, she doesn’t like it,” he told AFP. “She wants me to focus on serving people.”

His trainer too, the legendary Freddie Roach, has categorically stated that if he loses to Rios it will be the last time he sets foot in the ring.

“If he loses, I will tell him to retire,” he was reported as telling ESPN.

Pacquiao’s preparation for the fight will begin in the Philippines next month, with “light training for conditioning” seeing him run in the morning and hit his gym in the afternoon, before he steps up the work rate to put himself through weeks of grueling workouts.

Acknowledging he is no longer a young fighter — but confident he will be in as good a shape as ever — he said: “Of course, my mind is still there but I have to adjust a little bit of something in my body because I’m 34 years old. It’s different than if you compare it to when I was 25 years old.

“I need to focus this training camp to maintain the speed, specifically the footwork.”

And the one question that has for years dogged Pacquiao — whether a dream clash with undefeated five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather will ever happen?

“I’ve stopped thinking about him because I don’t think he will fight me. I’ve been waiting four years already,” he said.

Pacquiao dreams of presidency Philippine Daily Inquirer 10:34 pm | Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Former eight-division world boxing champion eyes Malacañang

MACAU—Boxing great Manny Pacquiao is harboring thoughts of running for president in his beloved Philippines when he finally hangs up his gloves.

In an exclusive interview with Agence France-Presse Saturday, the most successful Filipino boxer ever, who is also a congressman of Sarangani, admitted he had considered seeking the presidency of the 95 million-strong nation.

When pressed on whether he had thought about shooting for the top job, the soft-spoken 34-year-old replied “Yes.”

Drawing parallels between his boxing and political careers, the former world champion in eight weight divisions said: “When I started boxing, of course I was planning, you know, and thinking about getting to become a champion. So when I enter politics it’s the same thing.

“But, you know, it’s far away,” he said, adding: “It’s God’s will.”

Before that, however, Pacquiao whose record stands at 54 wins, five losses and two draws, must concentrate on his latest bout—a post breakfast-time tear-up with American Brandon Rios set at The Venetian resort-hotel in Macau at 10 a.m. on Nov. 24.

The unconventional start time is for the benefit of the lucrative US pay-per-view audience, who will be settling down to watch the fight mid-evening on Saturday, as top promoter Bob Arum tries to elbow his way into the China market.

Despite his last fight ending in a disastrous knockout, when Juan Manuel Marquez caught him with a huge right hand that saw the Filipino crumple to the canvas, Pacquiao refuses to entertain the notion that he will lose a third straight bout, or retire.

He said he was “100 percent” sure he would beat Rios (31-1-1), giving him one more chance to regain his credibility—and potentially another shot at a world title.

“He’s OK but I can say he’s a greasy fighter and he loves to fight inside, he loves to fight toe-to-toe,” Pacquiao said in an interview on Saturday as he kicked off a promotional tour for the Rios battle.

“This is going to be a good fight —more action in the ring. Hopefully he won’t run away.”

Pacquiao insists he is as fit as ever, will focus on not leaving himself open to Marquez-style punishment, and has ignored calls from friends, family and media commentators, fearful for his health, to call it a day.

Once regarded as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter, he dismisses the possibility of defeat at the hands of the much younger —and possibly hungrier—US foe.

“There’s a little bit of pressure for this fight but I believe in myself that I can still fight and improve,” he said. “I still can knock somebody out in the ring.”

Pacquiao conceded that his dearest were desperate for him to bow out of the fight game.

“Especially my mother,” he admitted. “My mother doesn’t want me to fight anymore, she doesn’t like it,” he said. “She wants me to focus on serving people.”

His trainer too, the legendary Freddie Roach, has told ESPN that if he loses to Rios it will be the last time he sets foot in the ring.

Acknowledging he is no longer a young fighter, Pacquiao said: “Of course, my mind is still there but I have to adjust a little bit of something in my body because I’m 34.”

And the one question that has for years dogged Pacquiao— whether a dream clash with undefeated world champion Floyd Mayweather will ever happen?

“I’ve stopped thinking about him because I don’t think he will fight me. I’ve been waiting four years already,” he said.

Pacquiao, a second-term lawmaker, has so far filed five bills in the House of Representatives.

The measures he principally authored seek to create a boxing commission, put up breast care centers in every region, establish a community fitness center in every barangay, build a provincial hospital in Sarangani, and amend the Philippine Sports Commission act.

Of the five bills, the breast care center measure is the one that’s not new for him, since he had authored a similar bill in the 15th congress in 2010.

Not surprisingly, Pacquiao is also looking after the welfare of active and old boxers.

A boxing commission would be tasked to provide procedures to protect boxers from physical and financial exploitation, and provide those who compete and win in international matches with comprehensive health-care benefits, alternative livelihood programs, a life insurance system, and reliable death benefits.

Another bill he filed seeks to have fitter Filipinos.

Under his measure, these centers in every barangay would promote physical education, wellness, and sports activities. These would be staffed by full-time fitness instructors who will be paid by the municipal or city health office.

The Sarangani lawmaker also wants to put up a provincial hospital in his province, with at least 100 beds. He seeks to allocate P200 million for the project.

He also seeks to amend the charter of the PSC.

He said there were legal ambiguities that need to be clarified, such as the computation of the commission’s actual share of funds from other government agencies. The terms of commissioners must be fixed as well, and their mission redefined to ensure proper coordination with stakeholders, he added. With a report from Leila Salaverria


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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