With a beatific politician's smile on his face, Manny Pacquiao calmly insisted he'll step out of a boxing ring for the final time on April 9 after his third fight with Timothy Bradley.
Nearly nine months after he failed to hurt Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the most lucrative fight in boxing history, Pacquiao is back stateside to promote his grand finale. His camp insists Pacquiao is recovered from shoulder surgery required to repair a rotator cuff injury that affected the Mayweather bout, and he'll be ready for a full training camp with Freddie Roach.
Pacquiao realizes that if he looks impressive in beating Bradley, he could stoke interest in a healthy rematch with Mayweather, who retired last fall. Even after their anti-climactic first meeting, a second bout would be another enormous financial windfall for the two biggest stars in boxing.
Pacquiao insists it's irrelevant to look beyond Bradley.
"(Mayweather) retired already, so I'm going to retire also after this fight," Pacquiao said. "I never regret. In fact, I thought I won the fight. A lot of people, my fans, believe I won the fight. ... I know (it's time to retire) because after this, I have another big responsibility in the Philippines, which is serving the people. My family wanted me to retire before I fought Mayweather. I started this boxing just to help my mother, and I'll end my boxing career to help the country."
Pacquiao will face Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, completing a trilogy between two of the world's top welterweights. Bradley won a hotly disputed split decision over Pacquiao in their first meeting in June 2012, but Pacquiao earned a unanimous decision victory in the April 2014 rematch.
Pacquiao is certain he won the first fight, and his opinion is shared by Roach and Arum, who promotes both fighters. Bradley believes he won the rematch, a position shared by fewer observers.
With a guaranteed $20 million payday, Pacquiao happily agreed to take on Bradley for a third time. He claims the reasons weren't just financial: Pacquiao believes Bradley "has changed" since their last two fights, and he wants to see how he'll do against the revamped version of an already tenacious opponent.
Bradley hired veteran trainer Teddy Atlas before his last bout with Brandon Rios, celebrating the change with ninth-round stoppage victory.