SINGAPORE: Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said on 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 Philippine congressman, 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.”