Manny Pacquiao insists he has no regrets about his fight with Floyd Mayweather, despite the shoulder injury that hampered his chances. He also confirmed his fight with Timothy Bradley on April 9 will be the last of his distinguished career.
Speaking at a press conference to promote the showdown, Pacquiao was asked about his loss to Mayweather last year, following which he had to have surgery on his shoulder. The Filipino revealed he wasn't aware of the extent of the damage until the fight itself got underway, per Steve Kim of BoxingScene.com:
No, I never regret that I fought that fight. ...
Before the fight I didn't feel something wrong in my shoulder but it just happened in the fourth round. Before the fourth round I felt something when I threw a combination when he lay on the ropes. I felt something in my hands, where I lost my right hand.
Pacquiao also declined to definitively rule out a rematch with the American. "That's a question I can not answer because we don't know what is tomorrow," he said, per Kim.
The Filipino icon was asked about his future plans. Pacquiao confirmed the third part of his trilogy against Bradley will be the last time he ever laces up the gloves as he seeks to get more involved in politics in his homeland, per James Andrew of the MailOnline:
I will feel sad hanging up my gloves. But you can't go on forever in the ring. I started boxing all those years ago to help my family, my mother. I want to end my boxing career now because my desire in my heart is to help my people, my country.
The greatest achievements in life are not what we do ourselves, but for other people. Life is short. It's important we love each other and show unity. It's a great opportunity to have this last fight.
If Pacquiao does walk away from the sport after this one, regardless of the result, he’ll do so with a tremendous legacy intact.
The man from the Philippines is the only eight-weight world champion in the sport’s history, has won 57 of his 65 fights and is renowned for a style of boxing that has fans on the edge of their seats. Some of his performances, particularly wins over Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya, will live long in the memory.
Here’s a reminder of some of the highlights from Pacquiao’s clash with the latter, when he dismantled a man many thought was far too big for him:
Despite these claims from Pacquiao, some close to him remain unconvinced that the 37-year-old is ready to walk away from the sport.
Indeed, as reported by Andrew, Pacquiao’s long-term promoter Bob Arum conceded “I will not promote it as Manny's last fight,” because when it comes to boxers and retirement “you never know.”
The fighter’s trainer, Freddie Roach, was also unsure over whether this would be Pacquiao’s final bout. “I could see Senator Manny Pacquiao defending his world title,” Roach told FightHub (h/t Rappler). “I don’t think this will be his last fight. I think he will fight in the future because I just don’t feel he’s all done. He’s always telling me before when I’m all done will you tell me.”
Given Pacquiao and Bradley have gone toe-to-toe twice before, the prospect of this being Pacquiao’s final fight has underwhelmed some. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated certainly isn’t keen on this trilogy being completed:
"I chose Bradley because he has improved a lot,” claimed the veteran, per Andrew. “I think it will be a great boxing match in the ring.”
Both men have one victory each against the other, with Bradley winning via split decision in the first fight and Pacquiao dominating the second.
But it’s certainly going to be intriguing to see the condition the Filipino will be in on the back of shoulder surgery and his devastating defeat against Mayweather. Bradley has drawn one and won two of his three fights since the loss to Pacquiao.
The American has certainly shown something new in his previous two wins, especially in stopping Brandon Rios in the ninth round of his last bout, a finish prompted by a brutal body shot.
Hopefully he can test Pacquiao in what is potentially his last ever outing and give a tremendous fight befitting of the great man’s career.