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Will Politics Pull Manny Pacquiao Into Retirement?
By Lem Satterfield
November 11 2010
Arlington, Tex -- Manny Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, keeps telling everyone that the boxer, being a recently elected congressman who loves the people of his native Sarangani Province of the Philippines, will most likely retire after Saturday night's clash with Antonio Margarito at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
Even Pacquiao's mother, Dionisia Pacquiao, told FanHouse that she is attending the fight only on the condition that her son has assured her that this is his final time lacing up the gloves.
But during Wednesday's press conference at the Cowboys Stadium, the 31-year-old Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 knockouts), sat adjacent to Roach and told a gathering of reporters that in no way did he intend on retiring after facing Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs).
"Yes," said Pacquiao, when asked if he would continue fighting even if a lucrative bout with Floyd Mayweather can't be made, this, after twice failed negotiations.
"This is not my last fight," said Pacquiao, followed by a quick glance to his right at Roach. "We can fight another opponent. I think I have two or three more fights."
Pacquiao will be after his 13th straight victory, his ninth knockout during that run, and his eighth crown in as many divisions when he meets Margarito in an HBO televised, Top Rank Promotions clash for the WBC's vacant junior middleweight (154 pounds) title.
"I expect Manny, based on my conversations with Manny, to fight for two more years. And I've already talked to people in Manny's camp, plotting out when the date of his next fight would be and in what month," said Top Rank CEO, Bob Arum.
"They leave the opponents up to me. And then, I will suggest this opponent or that one. But obviously, the opponent that they want to fight is Floyd Mayweather, without any doubt," said Arum. "And when I get back to Las Vegas, I will examine Floyd's legal situation and so forth and see if the fight can be done without being put into jeopardy by his going on trial the week before."
Arum told Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times that former world champion Shane Mosley, WBC welterweight king Andre Berto or junior welterweight (140 pounds) titlist Timothy Bradley of the WBO could be a possibility if he defeats southpaw WBC champ Devon Alexander on Jan. 29.
But if Pacquiao is successful against Margarito, whom Roach believes the Filipino super star will stop "inside of eight rounds," the trainer said that there may not be much left for him to accomplish outside of a super bout with Mayweather.
"If there is no fight with Mayweather, I think that this could be it. Where else do we have to go? I'll be totally satisfied if this is his last fight," said Roach.
"If Manny looks impressive on Saturday night beating Margarito, I'd be very happy with eight world titles," said Roach. "I would have no problem with him retiring after this fight. Without Floyd Mayweather, there is no challenge."
Roach has at times called this training camp one of Pacquiao's worst, owing to the general distractions that have come with his congressional duties, in general, and to his love for his Filipino countrymen, in particular.
"Politics is something that he wants to be good at," said Roach. "It's new and it's fresh. It's a new challenge for him."
Pacquiao says that his passion for fighting is only rivaled by that to help the poorest people in the Philippines, having been born into poverty, himself, and, at times, spent homeless nights sleeping outside and searching for food.
"My feeling is that I feel what they're feeling, because I've been there. I will tell you the truth. Manny Pacquiao has slept in the streets before. I ate once a day. Sometimes, I wouldn't eat at all on some days. There were days that all that I drank was water and no food. That was my life before," said Pacquiao.
"That's why I feel what they feel and want to help them. That's why I entered into politics, because I want to help the people in my country. In government, there is money for those people," said Pacquiao. "The problem is, we need a leader who has the heart to help them. I will always understand the needs of the people who need help. When I see people on the street, sleeping, my heart [breaks.] It makes me remember my past when I was young."
One of the things Pacquiao is most proud of, as a boxer, is the fact that his success has come from an Asian athlete.
"I'm so proud. We're all proud, of course. Not just the Filipinos, but we're representing in Asia," said Pacquiao. "So, I'm very thankful to that. I'm thankful for these blessings."
As an athletic role model, as well as a politician, Pacquiao is emboldened by the notion that his personal story gives hope to his nation.
"Boxing is not that different [from politics.] My experience is that if you work hard, similar to being a public servant, you can succeed. Just like you can succeed in bringing projects to your district," said Pacquiao. "I have achieved my dream of being a champion in boxing. Now my dream is also to be a champion in public service."
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