For the millions of boxing fans around the world who want to see Manny Pacquiao square off with undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr., a jolt of depressing reality: It may never happen.
The BBC reports that Pacquiao, now the WBO welterweight champion, will retire after his Nov. 13 bout against Antonio Margarito for the WBC Super Welterweight Championship in Dallas. And to make matters worse for hopeful Pacquiao fans, the rumors come from a reliable source, the boxer’s trainer Freddie Roach.
“We are going to lose Manny Pacquiao to politics, for sure," Roach told the BBC. "After the first couple of days of training Manny came up to me and said 'I miss my job', and I said 'you're at your job', and he said 'no, I miss Congress'."
Pacquiao was elected to his political post by his fellow countrymen in the Philippines in May and said he’d only fight one more time after entering politics. If he stays true to his word, the Margarito fight will end the career of one of boxing’s most popular and successful champions.
Many supporters are attempting to read between the lines when they check out the daily reports from Pacquiao’s training camp. Some of them even think Roach is preparing them for a loss against the tough and much bigger Mexican. However, the training camp diaries often contradict each other considering there are so many reports coming out of the sessions that it’s hard to know which ones are the most accurate.
Some stories claim Pacquiao’s been too distracted during camp because of politics and other interests, while others say Roach is happy with his progress. It’s hard to get a true feel for the situation by just reading the daily news. But some of the quotes attributed to Roach will surely discourage fans of the Filipino icon.
For instance, Roach supposedly told the BBC, "We're fighting against a big, strong guy who's going to be in great shape and we're a little behind schedule which is very unusual. I'm not sure if it's the size of the sparring partners that's giving him trouble or he's just not himself yet. He's getting better and better every day but it's coming a lot slower than usual.”
It’s also no secret promoter Bob Arum expressed his concern after taking in a recent training session and said Pacquiao needs to work on his speed or he’ll lose the fight. However, Arum was at the gym again on Oct. 19 when Pacquiao reportedly shook up all three of his sparring partners, Glen Tapia, Amir Khan, and Michel Medina, and supposedly gave Tapia a bloody nose.
When training camp ended in Baguio City, Roach said it was the best day of camp. But that can be taken in various contexts. It could just have been the best day of a poor camp. Pacquiao declared himself ready for Margarito though, and said he felt he was at 9.5 out of 10 when it came to rating his condition.
There’s still a long way to go as training now shifts to Los Angeles for the last three weeks of preparations, and these could be a lot tougher than Roach and Pacquiao anticipated. This is due to the fact Roach basically put a bounty on Pacquiao’s head and offered a $1,000 reward to any sparring partner who could drop him in training.
Jr. middleweight prospect Vanes Martirosyan (28-0, 17 KOs) is waiting in the wings like an up-and-coming gunslinger ready to duel it out with Billy the Kid and is intent on cashing in on the offer. This should definitely make the last few weeks of Pacquiao’s camp worth reading the daily updates.
According to ABC Islands Sportsbook, Pacquiao is favored to beat Margarito with odds of -600 while Margarito is listed at +450