Pacquiao targets three more years in the ring

MACAU. Manny Pacquiao believes he has two or three years of fighting left before he quits the sport and still retains the hope of securing a bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr
DOWN BUT NOT OUT; Pacquiao (on the floor) suffered a brutal sixth-round knockout by Juan Manuel Márquez (R) in December. Net photo.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT; Pacquiao (on the floor) suffered a brutal sixth-round knockout by Juan Manuel Márquez (R) in December. Net photo.

MACAU. Manny Pacquiao believes he has two or three years of fighting left before he quits the sport and still retains the hope of securing a bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Two straight defeats, the second a brutal sixth-round knockout by Juan Manuel Márquez in December, prompted pundits and fans to suggest the 34-year-old Filipino should retire.

Instead he will step back in the ring on 24 November to take on the American Brandon Ríos for a first fight in Macau, keen to re-establish himself as the No1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.

“[It is a] great opportunity for me to give a good show for the people, to get back my name into the top of boxing,” Pacquiao said in Singapore on Friday on the latest leg of the promotional tour for the bout.

“Brandon Ríos is a good boxer, tough opponent and I believe we can give a good fight. Especially his style and my style it is very good to fight each other, we can create a lot of action in the ring.”

The 27-year-old Ríos, an aggressive former lightweight world champion known as Bam Bam, will provide a stern test for Pacquiao although he lacks the box office numbers that a fifth bout with Márquez or a first with Mayweather could bring.

Pacquiao, who is also a Filipino congressman, remains open to both options and has no plans to call it quits any time soon.

“I’m not really sure (how many fights left). As long as I can still fight, I can fight. In my mind right now, maybe I can still fight maybe two to three years from now,” said Pacquiao, who has amassed a 54-5-2 record with 38 knockouts.

“I tell you frankly, honestly in myself I can still fight and I feel strong. If there is something wrong in my body or something wrong in my boxing skill I have to think about that and think about retirement.

“But since I lost the last fight, I still feel strong and I can still fight.”

Pacquiao, whose power punching from both hands and lightning speed helped him win titles from flyweight through to light middleweight, said he had trained every day since the Márquez defeat and that his body was “addicted to exercise”.

But having achieved so much already and with the lucrative Mayweather clash appearing destined to never happen, talk returns to retirement.

His Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who also represents Rios, acknowledged politics and not boxing was Pacquiao’s main focus. 

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