Manny Pacquiao wants to finish career with KO of Bradley
MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao reiterated Monday that his April 9 fight against Tim Bradley will be the last fight of his 21-year boxing career as he doubled down on his commitment to his political career.
Pacquiao, 37, says he wants to walk off of his career with a knockout win over the current WBO welterweight titleholder Bradley, 32, when they meet for a third time at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I’m trying to have a knockout in that fight,” Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 knockouts) said after playing pick-up basketball in Manila, Philippines. “I’m not saying to predict the fight, but I’m trying to do my best so the people enjoy my last fight.”
Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) of Palm Springs, California, won a controversial decision in their first fight in 2012 but was on the losing end in their 2014 rematch. Bradley has since regained a 147-pound title belt that Floyd Mayweather Jr. vacated after taking it off Pacquiao in May 2015.
Pacquiao doesn’t believe that the addition of trainer Teddy Atlas – who replaced Bradley’s longtime trainer Joel Diaz before Bradley’s knockout win over Brandon Rios in November – can make a difference in their third meeting.
“I know his style and I have to prepare for that,” said Pacquiao of the opponent he’ll face on HBO Pay-Per-View.
Pacquiao, a sitting two-term congressman in his native Philippines, among other ventures, says the decision to retire came not because of his advancing age, but rather he’d want to focus more attention to the job of senator should he win.
Pacquiao is currently rated between spots ten to 13 in the latest PulseAsia poll, conducted in December, with the top 12 vote-receivers to be elected to the Senate.
“It’s not hard to make a decision to make a last fight,” Pacquiao said. “This is the opportunity I have before I focus on the next hard work in my life.”
Among the priorities he said he’d address should he be elected to the Philippine Senate are “farmers, teachers, education, OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), sports.”
Pacquiao said it was his promoter, Top Rank, who selected Bradley as his opponent, adding that he didn’t have a personal preference of whom he faced in what’ll be his first fight in 11 months since the decision loss to Mayweather and the surgery to repair a damaged right rotator cuff.
PhilStar.com reported that the first Pacquiao-Bradley press conference will take place Jan. 19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel before finishing up the two-city tour at Madison Square Garden in New York City on January 21.
Pacquiao will train through February in his hometown of General Santos City before wrapping up in Los Angeles at the Wild Card Gym, a source in Pacquiao’s camp said.
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.