Pacquiao to hang gloves if elected
BOXING icon Manny Pacquiao says he will likely retire from boxing next year after one last fight to concentrate on a career in politics, hopefully as a senator.
Pacquiao, winner of an unprecedented eight world titles in as many weight divisions and at times touted as a future President of the Philippines, played host at dinner to House reporters on Tuesday night and spoke about running for the Senate in next year’s elections.
The Sarangani representative said becoming a senator was a “different class” and he knew that bigger obligations came with being elected to the Senate.
“This is why it took me a long time to decide, because I had to think of my responsibilities,” Pacquiao said.
“I need to give up some of my commitments to focus on serving,” he added.
Asked if boxing was among the things he planned to give up, the champion said: “That depends. I will announce it at the right time.”
He added that he had at least “one more fight” before next year’s elections.
In an interview on television Wednesday, Pacquiao, 36, said he was ready to retire from boxing.
“I’ve been in boxing for more than 20 years,” he said.
Advice from God
The champion, a born-again Christian, said he had taken career advice from God.
“I prayed to God for guidance and I am happy about it,” he said.
Pacquiao turned professional when he was 16 years old, and has won 57 fights, including 38 knockouts, while losing six, three of them knockouts. Two other bouts ended in a draw.
He lost a unanimous decision in May to unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather in boxing’s richest bout, which Pacquiao fought with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
Before the elections, Pacquiao said he planned to climb into the ring for what would probably be the last time.
He has yet to pick his next opponent, and said he was not ruling out a rematch with Mayweather, even though the American has already announced his retirement.
Pacquiao, a congressman since 2010, announced his senatorial candidacy on Monday night, but did not say if he was joining a major political party.
During dinner with House reporters on Tuesday, Pacquiao said he might run as an independent candidate.
He confirmed he was in talks with Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party under which he ran in 2013, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas’ Liberal Party (LP) and the camp of Sen. Grace Poe.
Asked if he was willing to be a common candidate of the mainstream parties, Pacquiao replied: “That’s possible, since we still have time to ask for the Lord’s guidance on what to do.”
He said he saw no problem in running as a common candidate of the major parties or in going solo.
He will announce his decision when he files his certificate of candidacy, he said.
Pacquiao gave scant information about the offers from the major parties.
Asked if he was still with the UNA, whose official launch in July he attended, Pacquiao said: “I have not taken an oath with another party since I ran in 2013.”
Helping the poor
As for his wife, Jinkee, the vice governor of Sarangani, Pacquiao said she had decided not to run for any elective office next year to look after their children and businesses.
“We have decided that me alone going into public service is enough, although we will keep our mission of helping the poor,” said Pacquiao, who has risen from rags to riches through boxing.
He is also a part-time movie actor, singer, product endorser and basketball coach and player.
“As I’ve said, only a few people like me know what it is like to be poor. Deep in my heart, I know what it is like to sleep on the sidewalk and to peddle all sorts of things to survive,” he said.
Pacquiao said he was looking for a presidential candidate who had not only seen the living conditions of the poor but had also “felt” their suffering.
“I will announce [the candidate] I will endorse soon. The people need to choose the right candidate,” he said.
The two-term congressman was mercilessly criticized on social media this week after it was reported that he attended just four of the 70 sessions of the House last year due to sporting and other commitments.
Despite this, the latest surveys put him in the winning circle of the 12 senatorial slots at stake in next year’s elections.
Pacquiao said his poor attendance in the House did not mean he was not doing his job.
“Although I am not seen in [the House], in my district, I have done a lot. I delivered a State of the District address [in which I reported to my constituents my accomplishments during] my two terms, and they were happy,” he said.
Pacquiao promised he would be a “serious” senator should he win in May.
“I will not be absent because the whole country will be my responsibility,” he said. With a report from AFP
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