Boxing: Promoter says Manny Pacquiao will fight again

Manny Pacquiao speaks onstage during presidential candidate and Vice President Jejomar Binay's Miting De Avance in Manila.
Manny Pacquiao speaks onstage during presidential candidate and Vice President Jejomar Binay's Miting De Avance in Manila.PHOTO: AFP

London (Guardian) - Promoter says Manny Pacquiao will fight again.

The fighter's longtime promoter told the Guardian on Tuesday that he's been instructed to seek out a site and opponent for the eight-division boxing champion, who was elected to the Philippines senate in May.

"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," said Bob Arum, who has promoted Pacquiao since 2005.

"We've been trying to work out a date that doesn't interfere with his senatorial responsibilities and his ability to train."

Arum said Pacquiao would spend the first several weeks of training camp in the Philippines while maintaining his political obligations. The challenge lies in finding a date where he could take a leave of absence from the senate for three weeks before the fight to complete training in the United States.

Pacquiao, who turns 38 in December, formally announced his retirement after a unanimous-decision victory over Timothy Bradley in April, walking away with a record of 58-6-2 with 38 knockouts. But even then he seemed uncertain about quitting the sport that lifted him from grinding poverty to global superstardom.

"My heart is 50/50," he said when pressed during the post-fight press conference. "I might enjoy my retired life or I might want to come back. It's hard to say because I'm not there yet. But right now my decision is to retire."

Rumblings of a comeback began surfacing in June when it was reported that Arum had put a hold on the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas for Oct 15, but the Top Rank Promotions president said on Tuesday that date is no longer in play because it comes one week after the senate will draw up the national budget.

"We're going to scrub that date," Arum said. "Now I'm looking for another date that accords with his schedule in the senate."

Arum also quashed reports that Adrien Broner had emerged as a likely opponent for Pacquiao. The brash Cincinnati fighter captured a title belt at 140lbs - Pacquiao's preferred weight class - with a stoppage of Khabib Allakhverdiev in October, though he lost it on the scales before a ninth-round TKO of London's Ashley Theophane in April.

"(Broner) wants more than Pacquiao," Arum said. "Forget it. Obviously he doesn't want the fight or just doesn't understand the economics of this business."

Arum reserved praise for promotional arch-rival Al Haymon, under whose Premier Boxing Champions banner Broner campaigns. "This is not on Al that the Broner fight didn't happen," he said.

Arum said that Floyd Mayweather's name was raised during negotiations with Haymon but those talks didn't get far. "Mayweather was not looking to fight this year if ever," Arum said.

Pacquiao, who previously served two terms in the the Philippines house of representatives, had drawn criticism during the run-up to the May elections for his absenteeism as a congressman. He failed to get a single bill through committee throughout six years in office and was present only four days in 2014 .

He also came under fire for saying people in same-sex relationships "are worse than animals" in a video posted on TV5's election site.