LAS VEGAS — There is no sign that Manny Pacquiao’s fight on Saturday, January 19 will be his last.
In a sideline interview with reporters on Wednesday, January 16, the 40-year-old Filipino boxer teased that he won’t be shelving his sports career any time soon and could still go on for two to three more years.
However, he said it would not interfere with his duties as a senator in the Philippines.
“This is the real evidence of being passionate [about] the sport… I don’t need to continue boxing — I am a senator of the Republic of the Philippines, I have another job…I’m still focused on that job, but like I said, boxing is my passion and public service is my mission so I’m still here to keep on fighting,” Pacquiao said in an interview before the last press conference for the Saturday fight. “I want to put my name [at] the top…and be a winner until I retire.”
The fighter turned senator — the only eight-division world champion in the sport — will come out of his two-year hiatus on Saturday when he defends his World Boxing Association welterweight world title against 29-year-old Adrien Broner, a former four-division world champion.
Despite his age, Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) sees the match as a challenge to prove that he hasn’t lost his luster.
After beating Jessie Vargas in his last U.S. fight in 2016, Pacquiao lost by unanimous decision against Australian Jeff Horn in 2017, but won through a technical knockout in his fight against Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia in 2018.
“It’s kind of a challenge for me because this is my first fight at the age of 40. I have something to prove,” he told reporters.
This training period has been an adjustment for him as it came with understanding his physical changes and taking longer recovery periods.
He added that “If the knock out come[s], it’ll come and we’ll grab that opportunity.”
Pacquiao also called it an honor to be back at the MGM, the site of his first fight in the U.S. back in 2001. Saturday will mark his 20th bout in Las Vegas and 70th overall.
He made his grand arrival on Tuesday after spending weeks training at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles.
Both Pacquiao and Broner, joined by their respective trainers and management, appeared at the final press conference on Wednesday, where they gave brief speeches about what to expect during the match.
Pacquiao sat on stage alongside co-trainers Buboy Fernandez and Freddie Roach, MP Promotions head Joe Ramos and strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune.
Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe said that Saturday is an opportunity for Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) to ”show what he’s all about.”
The 29-year-old enters the fight with 0-1-1 in his last two fights with a draw to Jessie Vargas in 2018, and a loss to Mikey Garcia in 2017.
“Look at my last five fights. I’ve fought world champion after world champion. I don’t duck any fights. I don’t care how many weight classes he’s won titles in,” Broner said.
He lamented that the focus of Saturday’s match has been diverted to talks about whether it could signal a rematch between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
“People are talking a lot about Pacquiao fighting Floyd Mayweather again, but I’m pretty sure Floyd is retired,” Broner said at the press conference. “I feel like people are trying to throw me to the wolves and overlook me.”
Pacquiao and Mayweather, who fought in 2015, had a chance encounter last week at the Los Angeles Clippers game during which Pacquiao was a guest for Filipino Heritage Night. Mayweather is reportedly slated to be ringside on Saturday, according to a report by the Philippine Star.
“We should give our best to the fans and make our fans satisfied,” Pacquiao said. “It’s going to be a good fight.”
After the prepared remarks, Boxing Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein conducted the question and answer portion with Pacquiao.
When the other team’s turn came, Broner and his trainer Kevin Cunningham refused to answer any questions. The younger boxer, however, has previously indicated that he is ready to beat a legend like Pacquiao.
“This is going to be a hell of a fight. I’ve trained so hard and I want everyone to know that I play around a lot, but when that bell rings, I’m going to be ready. I didn’t come here to lose or lay down,” Broner said during his remarks. “I came here to get this victory.”
Pacquiao and Broner will face off on Saturday, January 19 (Showtime PPV, 9 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. PT) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. (With reports from Robert Macabagdal / AJPress)