Manny Pacquiao reveals he is in talks to fight again - and then announce retirement plans

Dubai among the leading contenders to host Filipino's 72nd bout

Manny Pacquiao has confirmed talks for his return to the ring are ongoing, saying also that plans for retirement will be announced alongside his next bout.

The Filipino, now 42, has not fought in almost two years, since his split decision victory against the previously unbeaten Keith Thurman in Las Vegas. That victory secured Pacquiao the WBA “super” welterweight title, although he was later declared champion in recess because of inactivity.

A number of possible opponents have been mooted for Pacquiao, who had been seeking to fight as early as last summer only for his plans to fall foul of the coronavirus pandemic. At present, Mikey Garcia is believed to be the favourite to face the eight-division champion next.

There were reports last month that Pacquiao was in talks to take on undefeated WBO champion Terence Crawford in Abu Dhabi, but The National understands that was never a concrete option. However, Dubai remains a strong possibility for the Filipino senator's next bout, either this summer or in September, in what would represent the 72nd of his illustrious professional career. Speculation has swirled that Pacquiao, whose record stands at 62-7-2, might retire by the end of this year.

Speaking late on Monday during a virtual media briefing in the Philippines, Pacquiao commented on his next fight, saying: “The negotiations are ongoing. I will not go into details so that there will not be any problems.”

Asked about retirement, he added: “We won't answer that for now, because that is part of the negotiations. That will be included in the announcement.”

Pacquiao, who said also he would have “no problem” should the bout be staged in the United States, is reportedly preparing to run for president in 2022.

Quizzed on Monday about his aspirations for the head political post in the Philippines, Pacquiao remained coy.

"I didn't become a boxer to fight in four-rounders or 10-rounders; I boxed to become a world champion," he said. "Any politician, even a barangay chairman, dreams of becoming president.”

Published: May 4, 2021 01:26 PM

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