Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao confirmed he will only have one bout left before he hangs up his gloves and said he wants to “finish his boxing career with a victory”.
The world’s only eight-division champ who’s also an elected congressman vying for a Senate seat in next year’s Philippine national elections, expressed his desire to focus on life after boxing.
“I already achieved what I wanted to do in my (boxing) career,” Pacquiao said, after he made a quick stop to meet and greet his Dubai fans at du store in Dubai Mall on Wednesday.
“I want to maintain my name on the top of boxing and records and yes it is very important to finish my career with victory. This is my last fight in boxing because I’m going to focus on serving the people in the Philippines and I believe I can achieve that dream. Part of my advocacy is the protection of the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers).”
When asked who would be his opponent, Pacquiao denied claims from Amir Khan’s camp that a fight between the two has already been sealed for April 9 in Las Vegas.
“Not yet,” said Pacquiao. “We are going to finalise it, but I have not yet talked to Bob Arum.
“But it's (fight with Khan) possible. It’s part of our plan and of course if there is no problem in the negotiations, then why not?”
Aside from his former sparring partner, three more boxers are on the shortlist. “We have (Terence) Crawford, (Timothy) Bradley or (Danny) Garcia. But I don’t know yet, a lot of names have been given to me by my promoter.”
Pacquiao is also keen on staging his last fight in Dubai, saying: “I would love to have a fight here in Dubai but I don’t know yet. We are working on that.”
Pacquiao is in Dubai to play and coach Mahindra Enforcers, a professional basketball team in the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association), on Friday at Al Wasl Club against Alaska Aces and he will be at Go Sport store at the Mall of the Emirates this afternoon.
Pacquiao, who arrived in Dubai Monday night, said: “I’m very happy and excited being in Dubai for the first time.”
He posted on his social media account several pictures of him with his wife, Jinkee at the Burj Khalifa and wherever he’s gone, droves of eager fans are have followed him.
Boxing fans are more used than most to the feeling of hope being swiftly replaced by a crushing sense of disappointment.
Far too often the fights we all want to see fail to materialise, and for every great match-up made there are countless others harpooned by boxing politics.
But that doesn’t stop us dreaming of the blockbusters and this past week two excellent fights for 2016 inched closer to reality.
The first should finally give some direction to the infuriating career of Andre Ward, who is now set to make the logical and long overdue step up to light-heavyweight with the ultimate aim of facing Sergey Kovalev, the division’s main man, and holder of three of the major belts at 175 pounds.
Ward has signed a three-fight deal with HBO – who also have Kovalev under contract – and we’re told the final instalment of that partnership will be a showdown with the Russian at the back end of next year. We’re also told that Kovalev has agreed to all of this.
The 31-year-old Ward was once considered only second to Floyd Mayweather Jr in the pound-for-pound stakes but his inactivity has become a source of widespread derision.
He hasn’t had a credible rival at super middleweight since beating Carl Froch in late 2011, and carries the frame to be more than competitive against bigger men.
And a fight with Kovalev makes sense on so many levels for both.
Ward would reclaim relevance and respect, it’s a chance to be involved in his first big event in years, and also for the 2004 Olympic gold medallist to become a two-weight world champion.
Promotional disputes mean Kovalev cannot secure a fight with Adonis Stevenson, the man who holds the only major belt he doesn’t, and as such has run out of opponents, to the point where his next outing will be an unnecessary rematch with Jean Pascal, who he bombed out back in March.
As well as all of that straightforward reasoning, it’s a tantalising match-up with plenty of narrative for the promoters and TV network to work with. Both are unbeaten and boast contrasting styles with, perhaps, the tools required to beat the other.
Ward’s slick technique and defensive mastery will pose problems Kovalev hasn’t faced before, while the Russian’s sheer physical strength and obscene punching power are far more potent than anything Ward has dealt with previously. It’s a fascinating prospect and a potentially career-defining fight for both men.
Meanwhile, the second piece of good news this week – particularly for British fans – was a slew of reports that we might finally see Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg in the ring together next April.
Negotiations between the two camps have been on-off for what feels like an eternity but it seems common sense might finally prevail. It’s the biggest fight available, the most lucrative pay day for the super bantamweight rivals and in all likelihood an all-action scrap for the fans to enjoy.
When this fight was first seriously talked about, most would have had Ulster’s Frampton as a clear favourite.
But Quigg has looked more and more impressive with every fight and has inflicted some savage knockouts, including a two-round blowout of Kiko Martinez, who had lost to Frampton twice but took him the distance in the second fight.
Conversely, Frampton showed his first signs of weakness when he laboured to victory on his American debut against Alejandro Gonzalez Jr in July.
The Jackal was brought to his knees twice and given a standing eight count in a chastening first round. They weren’t heavy knockdowns, but it was the first time he’d truly been troubled.
There have been many false dawns with this one but should it be made, along with Ward/Kovalev, that would be two good reasons to be excited about 2016.
Indian middleweight boxer Vijender Singh looks ahead to his second professional fight as he takes a tour of Britain’s House of Commons on Wednesday.
Singh is raising his profile in the build-up to his second fight as a professional, against Englishman Dean Gillen.
On his first bout as a professional, Singh beat Britain’s Sonny Whiting in three rounds in Manchester on October 10th.
“Oh, (I’m) pretty much confident right now. I’m in training, I’m working hard,” Singh said.
“My (second) fight is in Dublin now, that’s on the 7th November, so that’s going to be interesting. I’ve been there in Ireland and they are nice people, nice boxing level, I can say that and it’s going to be amazing, nice.”
My fight is postponed its on 7 nov in Dublin
— Vijender Singh (@boxervijender) October 26, 2015
Singh was asked about the current popularity of the sport in India–a country not renowned for its interest in boxing.
“Yeah, people like it, you know,” he added. “Lots of people think India is all about cricket and cricket fans and cricket lovers, but like, other sports are getting high now, slowly, slowly.
“People love boxing, people love wrestling. It takes time to get sports in the limelight, so I’m just taking one step. It’s a beginning, but it will take time to get to another level, it’ll take time, yeah.”