NEW YORK CITY – The Pacquiao-Bradley welterweight championship fight press conference in New York marks the beginning of what could be a great exclamation point to Manny Pacquiao’s amazing 15-year career in the sport of boxing.
“It’s sad to say that this is my last fight with Tim Bradley, it’s sad to say that after this, I’m going to retire and hang up my gloves,” said Pacquiao.
“Gusto kong manalo sa huling laban, na maipanalo ‘yung huling fight bago magretiro. Salamat sa lahat ng support ng lahat ng kababayan ko na laging nagmamahal, mula nuon hanggang ngayon nakasuporta kayo.”
With world champion records in 8 boxing divisions and the reigning Fighter of the Decade under his belt, Pacquiao is set to leave quite a lasting legacy as he hangs up his gloves while still on top of his game.
“He’s an eight-time world champion, that will ever be duplicated in my lifetime, he’s the one and only, there will never be another Manny Pacquiao,” said his coach Freddie Roach.
“It’s an answered prayer din [the retirement],” said Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee. “Finally nasagot na ‘yung gusto naming mangyari ng buong pamilya at makapagfocus na rin si Manny sa gusto niyang gawin as a politician.”
Pacquiao said, when he started boxing, all he wanted to do was to help lift his family, especially his mother, out of poverty.
“Nagsimula ako, I just want to help my mother, my family, matulungan ko sila,” said the fighting congressman. “Magandang mangyari kasi’s mag-e-end ‘yung career ko na gusto kong tumulong sa ating mga kababayan. I believe na I will accomplish that.”
But Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum is hoping that Pacquiao’s retirement is not set in stone.
“What happens if he’s got a great performance and he wins, and Mayweather says, ‘Hey I wanna come back,’ it’s hard to believe you could pass that up, right?” said Arum.
“I don’t wanna say this is his last, I don’t know and I can’t be sure.”
Roach agreed with Arum. He added that Pacquiao will have to make sure that there is no going back once he retires.
“At this point, I’m not sure, I think, once he retires, it should be over, and that’s it, let it go. I mean, [a] comeback is very, very difficult, ’cause if you take time off like that, it’s hard to come back.”
One thing for sure is that Pacquiao has also earned the respect even of his opponents.
“He’s lived his life as a champion person, and he’s fought as a champion fighter every time he’s gotten in the ring, so Manny will go forward and say goodbye to a guy, one of the best fighters in the last ten years, he will fight in a different arena for his good people in the Philippines,” said Timothy Bradley’s coach, Teddy Atlas.
Tickets to the April 9 Pacquiao-Bradley fight in Las Vegas will go on sale Friday (Saturday in Manila).
“C’mon now, fireworks baby! I mean this is a Tim Bradley-Manny Pacquiao fight, you always get the best,” said Bradley.
Pacquiao’s last fight may be the end of his amazing boxing career, but it will also be the beginning of another chapter of his life as a full-time public servant in the Philippines.