Champ shuns quit calls

Philippines’ Manny Pacquiao (C) celebrates his victory against Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse after their world welterweight boxing championship bout at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on July 15, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mohd RASFAN


“But if he decides to come back in boxing, then we can talk shop. I now have the belt.”

Talks of his retirement, including words from President Rodrigo Duterte, were thrown out the window after Manny Pacquiao’s masterful stoppage of Lucas Matthysse in their World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title clash Sunday at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.

Pacquiao showed up in vintage form, even after he received advice from Mr. Duterte to retire. And for a reason.

He dusted off a chapter in his 17-year old fight plan to down the Argentinian slugger in the third and fifth rounds before going for the kill in the seventh that sealed his first knockout win in nine years.

With a shiny golden crown on his head, Pacquiao can now troop to the negotiating table and strike out a deal with his preferred foe.

Previous reports have it that he’s gunning for a clash with pound-for-pound star Vasiliy Lomachenko, which would serve as his ticket back to stardom.

Pacquiao’s former promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions, knows that facing Lomachenko could be perfect as the Ukrainian puncher would be in great shape by the time the fight happens around November or April.

The names of rising stars Errol Spence and Terrence Crawford were also being thrown about.

Spence is the reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight champion while Crawford holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight crown following an impressive win over Pacquiao’s tormentor Jeff Horn last month.

But there’s a fighter who can give Pacquiao a serious run for his money – Floyd Mayweather.

“Why would I disturb someone who is already retired,” said Pacquiao, quickly dousing water before the spark created by the speculation emerges into a full-blown conflagration.
“But if he decides to come back in boxing, then we can talk shop. I now have the belt.”

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