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Pacquiao to focus on political fights

Updated: 2016-01-08 08:09
By Agence France Presse (China Daily)

Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao said he will end his legendary career after fighting Timothy Bradley in April in order to concentrate on his political career.

The winner of an unprecedented eight world titles, who has flirted with the idea of running for president, said he was confident of winning a senate seat in the May elections.

Pacquiao is facing American welterweight Bradley for the third time on April 9, after losing to Floyd Mayweather in the sport's richest fight last May.

"I am retiring from boxing to concentrate on my political career. My fight with Timothy Bradley will be my last," Pacquiao said in an interview this week.

The 37-year-old member of parliament dismissed reports he would not step away from the sport without a rematch with Mayweather, who himself retired after their fight last year.

"I did not say anything like that. Nobody interviewed me about that. I will retire after my April 9 fight," the Filipino icon said.

Pacquiao lost by unanimous decision to his brash American arch-rival Mayweather, whom he fought with a torn rotator cuff that later required surgery.

He has won 57 fights, including 38 knockouts, lost six and had two draws in a professional career spanning more than 20 years after being raised in poverty.

Pacquiao is ranked seventh in the race for 12 seats in the nationally-elected senate. He currently represents the southern province of Sarangani in parliament.

The senate is a traditional springboard for future presential campaigns. Three of the most recent Philippines presidents, including the incumbent Benigno Aquino, were senators before they were elected to the country's highest office.

"My survey rankings have been consistent and I expect it to improve once the campaign starts," Pacquiao said.

The former fish vendor and bakery delivery boy is adored by the Philippine masses who are inspired by his rags-to-riches life story.

Aside from politics, Pacquiao has parlayed his ring legend status to a career in movies, television and product endorsements. He is also a pastor in a born-again Christian group and credits his renewed faith for transforming him to a devoted family man from a hard-partying womanizer.

Floyd makes noise

Meanwhile, Mayweather says "racism still exists in the sport of boxing" and cited UFC champion Ronda Rousey's name in an attempt to bolster his argument.

Mayweather also mentioned middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin and former Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward as examples of "media-favored" white fighters, but added the problem is not limited to just the men's side of the sweet science.

Mayweather compared Rousey, who is white, to black former boxer Laila Ali who retired with a perfect 24-0 record.

"You look at Ronda Rousey, you know. I think she fought something like 11 or 12 fights. Laila Ali went undefeated and was dominating too," Mayweather said on Wednesday.

"After Ronda Rousey fought nine, 10, fights, it didn't even take that long, she got all types of endorsements, movies, and everything. But Laila Ali did the same thing in better fashion.

"Ronda Rousey, she's a good looking woman. Laila Ali is a drop-dead gorgeous woman. I mean a naturally beautiful woman and can kick ass, but you never heard them (the media) saying after 10 fights that she was the baddest woman to ever fight on the planet."

Pacquiao to focus on political fights

(China Daily 01/08/2016 page22)

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