MANILA: Filipino boxing star Manny Pacquiao plans to come out of retirement to fight, his promoter said Tuesday, though the boxer said no fight has yet been set.
Bob Arum told American sports broadcaster ESPN that the former welterweight champion plans to fight on either October 29 or November 5 as a main event bout in Las Vegas as long as it doesn’t clash with his senate duties in the Philippines. No opponent has been named thus far.
“Manny wants to come back,” Arum said. “The problem is he can only come back if it doesn’t interfere with his senate duties.”
Arum had previously planned an October 15 fight in Mandalay Bay Events Center, but scrapped it due to upcoming votes in the senate in Pacquiao’s native Philippines.
“The question is building availability because we want to do the fight in Las Vegas,” Arum said about the new dates.
Arum said the most difficult part of setting up a fight is working around the boxer’s busy political schedule.
“He now has given us the go-ahead to shop for a venue and an opponent and see if we can do it on a particular date or dates,” Arum said.
“We’ve been trying to work out a date that doesn’t interfere with his senatorial responsibilities and his ability to train.”
But in a statement, Pacquiao, who has a record of 58-6-2 with 38 knockouts, denied any firm plans on a fight.
“There is no truth to media reports that I’m planning to take a leave from my senate duties just to fight again atop the ring. I want to make it clear my priority is my legislative works,” he said.
“My next fight has not yet been discussed. Should there be any, I’ll make sure it will not interfere with my senate duties.”
The boxer said all his training would take place in the Philippines so that he can keep participating in senate proceedings. Pacquiao typically spends half his time training in the Philippines and the other half in the US.
“Boxing is my only means of livelihood to support my family and to help those who are in need,” he said.
“Politics, to me, is a vocation not a means to eke out a living.
“I want to maintain that belief. I want to keep my dignity intact while in public service.”
The 37-year-old Pacquiao last fought in April, when he won a unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley. Pacquiao said at the time that the bout would be his last.
Pacquiao’s advisor Michael Koncz told ESPN that he working with both Arum and Pacquiao on fight plans.
“Manny’s primary concern and obligation is to fulfill his senatorial duties,” Koncz said.
“But he misses (boxing). He misses the training. He misses being in the gym. You can see when he trains it’s like a stress reliever for him.
“So I am working with Bob and Manny is working closely with the senate president to make sure the dates are OK. We are doing this properly.”
Adrien Broner (32-2, 24 KOs) was being considered as a possible opponent, but Arum said that would not happen because Broner wanted too much money for the fight.
Other potential opponents could be undefeated Terence Crawford or Viktor Postol, who meet in a July 23 fight.