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Pacquiao to retire? Momma votes yes

19
Feb

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Manny Pacquiao has incentive to retire from boxing before the end of year, as trainer Freddie Roach has suggested he might do. He has put together a hall of fame legacy and wants to go into politics.

Now comes an even more-compelling reason to call it quits — mom wants him to.

“My mother, she doesn’t want me to fight anymore,” Pacquiao said as he taped his hands before a workout Thursday at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif. “I told her, ‘I can still fight, I’m still strong.’

“She worries. That’s a mother.”



Still, Pacquiao hemmed and hawed when he was pressed about his intentions. When he was asked again whether retirement this year is a possibility, he said: “I don’t know. ÔǪ I have to think.”

Roach reiterated that this could be his star pupil’s final year of boxing. If he beats Joshua Clottey on March 13 at Cowboys Stadium, Pacquiao would like to take on the winner of the May 1 Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Shane Mosley fight.

If Mosley wins, Roach said, that probably would be Pacquiao’s final fight. If Mayweather wins and the two are able to overcome their impasse over drug testing, that would be his finale. And if Mayweather wins and they can’t come to terms, then the Clottey fight would be Pacquiao’s last.

Roach suggested the “retirement” might not be permanent, though.

“Well, he’ll get into politics,” he said. “If he likes it, he’ll stay there for a while. Once he learns that in politics not everyone loves him anymore, that it’s a 50-50 thing, he might come back to boxing a little quicker. Everyone loves him in boxing.”

So we won’t see the last of him this year?

“I don’t think so,” Roach said.

Pacquiao's mother, Dionisia, reportedly became upset when she saw her son's face in bandages after he KO'd Miguel Cotto in November.

KO coming? Pacquiao won’t predict that he’ll be the first to knock out Clottey. Roach will, though.

The top trainer in the world was asked exactly how dangerous the former titleholder from Ghana is. His response? Not very. That might not be good for the promotion but Roach has always been a straight shooter.

“He’s a strong guy, he’s dangerous,” he said with no conviction. “To be honest, the more tape I watch of him the more holes I find, the more mistakes he makes. I’m very confident for this fight. ÔǪ Size doesn’t win fights, talent wins fights. We can do a lot more than he can.

“I expect him to retreat, to lay on the ropes and rest a little bit. I have the perfect way to crack that defense, though. I believe he’ll be stopped for the first time in his life.”

Pacquiao, ever the diplomat, wouldn’t go there.

“It’s hard to say right now,” he said. “ÔǪ I just want people to be happy.”

Roach said that Clottey is comparable to Miguel Cotto in terms of ability, although Cotto is more versatile. In other words, putting together a game plan for Clottey isn’t as complicated as it is for some other fighters.

“Clottey is very predictable,” Roach said. “He fights southpaws the same as he fights righties. I’ll still watch more tapes to get more information on him but I knew he doesn’t adapt well. He fights one way and one way only. We know what to expect.

“The only advantage he might have is he’s a little stronger. He doesn’t punch as hard as my guy, though.”

Pacquiao-Mayweather: Neither Pacquiao nor Roach is focused on the super fight that failed to materialize. That doesn’t mean they’re writing it off, though.

Pacquiao expressed no anger at Mayweather for demanding Olympic-style testing, which caused negotiations to unravel, and was open to the possibility that they could still meet in the ring if Mayweather beats Mosley.

“I think he wasn’t ready for the fight. Maybe some other time,” Pacquiao said.

Roach was more optimistic.

“I’m not so sure that crazy bastard isn’t trying to build the fight and make it ever bigger,” he said. “Maybe it’s all by design. He’s out there a little bit. ÔǪ I think it has to happen, Manny fighting the winner of that fight. It’s a must for boxing. Boxing needs a megafight like that now to keep the MMA off its back and other sports from taking us over. Boxing needs that fight.”

At the same time, he implied that Mayweather would have to compromise.

“He’ll never get Olympic-style drug testing because he doesn’t make the fÔÇöking rules,” Roach said. “We don’t work for him. We’ll never bow down to him, never let that happen. It’s like giving two rounds away. If we give him that, he’ll only want more.”

And if it never happens? Pacquiao said he’ll be just fine.

“I’m never disappointed,” he said. “ÔǪ I’ve already proved to the world what I can give in boxing. Everybody knows what I’ve achieved.”

Mosley’s chances: A Mosley victory presumably would make negotiations a breeze, particularly in comparison to Mayweather. However, Roach doesn’t like his chances.

“I hope Mosley wins,” Roach said. “I’d much rather fight Mosley. You know what? It’s a better fight than Mayweather-Pacquiao. Mayweather will run all night and Pacquiao will chase him all night. If he catches him, he catches him. If you want a real action fight, (Mosley-Pacquiao) is the best fight in the world today. Shane and Manny; that’ll be a fight.

“I don’t think Shane will beat Mayweather, though. Shane is comfortable with guys who attack him. He grew up in L.A. He's had Mexicans coming after him his whole life. That’s his bread and butter, what he does best. He has trouble with speed and movement.

“The foot speed of Mayweather is much faster than Shane can deal with, I feel. I hate to say I like Mayweather in the fight. I like Shane. He’s my friend. I’m not picking him, though. I do hope he wins. Then we don’t have to deal with Mayweather any more. He’s a pain in the ass.”

Pacquiao’s second passion: Pacquiao is always polite but sometimes seems to grow weary of answering the same boxing questions over and over again. Ask him about politics, though, and he speaks passionately.

Pacquiao is set to run for a congressional seat in the Philippines in May. And he seems to be doing it for the right reasons.

The fighter grew up in poverty, watching many of those close to him suffer. He genuinely wants to do all he can to prevent any of his countrymen from suffering the same fate.

“I have to make an action to help them,” he said. “A lot of people don’t have jobs. They need help from the government. Sometimes the leaders, government officials, don’t care about the people’s needs. They just care about their (own) life, their self interest. In the Philippines, we need a leader who truly has a heart to help them.

“ÔǪ The government has a budget, financial support ÔǪ for your constituents. Why not give it to them? Why put it in your own pocket? Corruption is not good in the Philippines right now.”

Less sparring: Roach said that Pacquiao came into camp in particularly good shape because of the relatively short turn around after the Cotto fight. He’s already around the 147-pound weight limit.

“He didn’t have a lot of down time for this fight,” Roach said, “so I cut sparring down a little bit. We usually average 150 rounds in training camp. We’ll probably do 110 rounds for this fight. I think 150 rounds would burn him out a little bit. I’m being a little conservative.”

Roach said Pacquiao walks around at about 145 pounds.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]