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Pacquiao says he won’t fight four times in 2017: ‘I’m not a robot’

Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Promotions
Fighters Network

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao says he won’t be fighting four times in 2017, despite the plan Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum had outlined in earlier interviews.

Arum had told numerous outlets earlier this month Pacquiao would fight in April against Australian Jeff Horn, followed by a fight in July in Russia, a fight in Europe in September, with a fight in November or December serving as the final fight of his career.

During a conversation Monday afternoon at his office in the Philippines Senate, Pacquiao said that schedule wouldn’t be practical.

“I’m not a robot. I’m human. To fight twice a year is hard for me; how much if I fight four times a year? It’s gonna be impossible,” said the 38-year-old Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 knockouts), who spends more of his time these days as a legislator in his home country than hitting the punch mitts in the gym.

“That’s just Arum doing wishful thinking on a possible tour. But there’s no way we can cope with that because of Manny’s schedule,” added Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz.

Koncz said their plan is to fight twice this year, with the second fight coming in October or November to fit with a break in the Senate, and to fight once or twice in 2018 before assessing their next step.

“Then Manny and I will sit down; we’ll see how those fights go and decide whether we’ll continue or that’s it,” said Koncz.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao says his next fight against Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), which is scheduled for April 22 (April 23, Philippines time) isn’t yet finalized, but expects his next fight to be set “within two weeks from now.”

“Once we get a venue, we’ll confirm an opponent. So there’s nothing definite on either a venue or an opponent,” adds Koncz, who says the next fight could land in Australia, Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

Pacquiao says he hadn’t previously heard of Horn, a native of Brisbane and a 2012 Olympian, prior to his name being brought up as a potential challenger for his WBO welterweight title.

“This is my first time to hear his name,” said Pacquiao, who would be facing his first opponent who wasn’t previously or currently a world titleholder in 10 years, since his April 2007 fight against Jorge Solis (who later became a 130-pound titleholder).

Koncz also hadn’t previously heard of the WBO’s No. 2 contender but says, as Pacquiao ages, it’s unwise to take chances with overlooking any opponent they face.

“Every opponent is a dangerous opponent at this time in Manny’s career because you don’t know when he’s gonna get old. If you put it on paper and compare it to Manny’s schedule, it doesn’t match. But again, you can’t just go by what’s on the paper,” said Koncz.

When asked about the WBA/WBC welterweight title unification bout between respective undefeated titleholders Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, set for March 3, in Brooklyn, New York, Pacquiao picked Garcia to win. He says he’d take a fight against the winner if offered.

“I’m ready to fight anybody,” said Pacquiao.

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.

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