Manny Pacquiao: ‘You cannot say you’re leaving that sport if your passion is there’

'I am still strong. I am still young,' says Manny Pacquiao, leaving open the possibility for a 'comeback' fight after Bob Arum earlier said such a plan was in the making.

Manny Pacquiao. Isaac Brekken / AP Photo
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Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao has declared he still has the passion for the sport and may come out of retirement, although there are no plans for a fight this year.

Pacquiao, 37, a newly elected senator in the Philippines, told AFP on Wednesday night that his top priority was his political career but that his love for boxing had not diminished.

“When you put your passion and your dedication in one sport, you cannot say you’re leaving that sport if your passion is there,” Pacquiao said in an interview in his hometown of General Santos.

“Boxing is always my passion and I grew up (as a boxer). The Lord helped me (make) a name in boxing history.”

Pacquiao added he was still physically fit to return to the ring.

“I am still strong. I am still young,” he said.

Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, said on Tuesday that the eight-division world champion planned to fight on either October 29 or November 5 as a main event bout in Las Vegas.

But while leaving open the option of a comeback, Pacquiao said he had not made such plans nor discussed arrangements with Arum.

Pacquiao retired after winning a unanimous decision in April against American Timothy Bradley.

He said he wanted to hang up his gloves to focus on his political career. After serving two terms as a congressman in the House of Representatives, Pacquiao was elected to the Senate in May.

Pacquiao has previously said he eventually wants to become president.

Yet, after being a senator for just two weeks, Pacquiao wants to win a new title in the ring – a fighting lawmaker.

“The first time in history that a senator is still fighting in the ring. That’s a legacy,” he said.

But after being criticised for rarely turning up to Congress, Pacquiao emphasised he was committed to his duties as a senator.

“What is on my mind right now is to bring good service to the people,” he added.

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