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Manny Pacquiao announced on Wednesday that he will have one last fight next year and then retire to pursue a full-time career in politics, according to an AFP report.
Pacquiao has served as a local congressman in the Philippines since 2010, but announced this week that he will run for senator in the national elections in May.
“I think I’m ready (to retire). I’ve been in boxing for more than 20 years,” Pacquiao said in an interview with the ABS-CBN television network. “I prayed to God for guidance and I am happy about it.”
As recently as last month, Pacquiao was still demanding a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, keeping hope alive for one more battle between the sport’s most recognizable stars. However, that now seems less likely than ever.
“I will have to give up the other things that require my attention. If you are a senator, your focus should only be your job and your family,” Pacquiao said in the interview.
While Mayweather has steadfastly said that his recent bout with Andre Berto was his last and he is now retired, there has been plenty of speculation that he will come back for at least one more bout to push his career record to 50-0.
In addition, while it would be a stretch to think Mayweather and Pacquiao could duplicate the revenue and pay days they grabbed in their first bout, a rematch would still be one of the bigger matches in boxing history and one last huge check for both fighters.
But while it would be easy for Mayweather to get back into the ring after retiring – he is seemingly just traveling the world with Justin Bieber – that is not the case for Pacquiao, especially if he wins an election as a senator in his native Philippines.
According to the AFP report, polls have Pacquiao winning one of the 12 senate seats up for grabs, and he has vowed to be a “serious” senator despite recent reports that he missed 66 of 70 legislative sessions this year.
If there is a shred of hope for a rematch, it is that Pacquiao hasn’t announced the opponent for his final fight and that he is not ruling out a match with Mayweather. But with Mayweather seemingly in no hurry to come out of retirement, time is running out fast.