If Manny Pacquiao is really contemplating retiring sometime soon, he should probably let the folks on his team know.
Over the last few days Pacquiao has been making headlines for repeatedly saying that God wants him to retire from the sport of boxing. The claims have garnered mixed reactions, with some folks sympathetically acknowledging that the Filipino champ’s career isn’t conducive to a life of religious purity, and others (read: us) questioning their legitimacy.
Regardless of whether or not you believe Pacquiao’s assertion that some sort of agreement with God may limit the amount of fights he has left, this much is a fact: some of the champ’s closest associates don’t seem to think he’s looking to hang up his gloves. On Wednesday night, Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza sat down with the good folks at Rope-A-Dope Radio and addressed his most famous fighter.
His comments were interesting, to say the least.
Just so that there is no confusion, here is the question posed to him and his exact response:
Rope-A-Dope Radio: “With all of the retirement talk from Manny lately, in your opinion is he still fully focused on boxing right now? Do you see a difference in him now as opposed to say maybe three years ago?”
Ariza: “It‘s always hard to say or to comment on those kinds of things because I haven’t heard Manny say it to me personally, so you just never know if he is saying it or if someone else is saying it, especially from the sources you’re reading it from. When he was here for the press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel, he seemed very anxious and very excited about getting back to training and going back to the old ways of training and getting his body back how it used to be, so for somebody that sounds like their talking about retirement, he didn’t have that tone. It didn’t come off like that to me.
If Pacquiao were truly contemplating calling it quits, wouldn’t his strength and conditioning guy be aware of it? If there’s one thing Ariza has always been known for by the media it’s not biting his tongue – so if he’s saying that the Filipino champ doesn’t look like someone preparing to retire he undoubtedly means every word.
Sometime down the line, it may eventually come out that Pacquiao’s retirement talk was legit and that all the doubters were mistaken. If that happens, so be it. At this point, though, knowing what we know, this all still just seems like a whole bunch of empty talk being used to sell fights.