BOXING enthusiasts may not have seen the last of Manny Pacquiao in the ring after all.
Another fight looms in the horizon for the boxing superstar who admitted on Thursday that he is open to a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
His statement added fuel to speculations that Pacquiao is not ready to hang up his gloves despite his statement that he is retiring.
The boxing superstar was given a hero’s welcome on Thiursday for demolishing Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Pacquiao was greeted by fans when he and his family arrived aboard Philippine Airlines Flight PR103 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.
He gave a brief news conference at the airport’s lobby where he discussed his future plans.
“Yes, I am retired as of now. I want to be with my family and to serve my people,” Pacquiao, 37, said.
The Sarangani lawmaker, however, pointed out that he is not officially retired and that he is “leaving the door open” for a possible rematch with Mayweather, who defeated the Filipino champion in May 2015.
Mayweather also announced his retirement after winning over Andre Berto in September last year.
“I don’t want to say something that you know we don’t know yet. I don’t know what the feeling is going to be like when I’m retired,” Pacquiao told reporters.
His wife Jinkee said Pacquiao is retiring but she also did not rule out the possibility of another fight.
“It’s up to him if he leaves his door open for another fight,” Jinkee said.
Observers had said that there are ongoing negotiations between handlers of Mayweather and Pacquiao for a possible rematch.
But as for now, Pacquiao said he is “happy to be retired and thankful.”
“I already made a promise to my family that I will retire. I will devote my time to them and other things.”
“I would like to thank my fellow Filipinos for being there for me, who cheered and prayed for me, every time I fight,” he added. “I think this is the right time [to retire].”
Pacquiao’s business manager, Eric Pineda, said his ward’s retirement is “overdue.”
“Manny’s retirement is long overdue and he is already retired as of now. Manny can give more time to public service and to his other job as a playing coach in the PBA [Philippine Basketball Association],” he told The Manila Times in an interview.
Pineda said Pacquiao can now focus on his senatorial campaign.
The boxing icon is running for senator under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
His brother Rogelio is also running as representative of Sarangani province while another sibling, Bobby, is running as councilor in General Santos City.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, head of UNA, said Pacquiao will be joining their sorties.
“Kausap ko lang po siya kanina e at sabi niya sasama na siya [I was talking to him earlier today, that he has arrived and he said he will join us],” Binay said in a news briefing in Dipolog City.
Binay believes that Pacquiao’s presence will help boost his ratings.
“Sa mga pananalita ni Senator Pacquiao bago pa siya umalis e ang napili niyang makasama sa darating na halalan e ako at ang partido namin kasi pare-pareho kaming pinanggalingang kahirapan ay ito ho ang programang aming… ‘yung pag-aangat ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino [And as he said before he left the country, he chose to be with me and our party in the coming elections because we all came from poverty and this is our program… uplifting the lives of every Filipino,” he said.
With REINA TOLENTINO