BEVERLY HILLS – Bob Arum has been in boxing for the past 50 years and had seen fighters – both the great and ordinary ones – come and go.
It’s for this simple reason that even if it was already the man himself who declared it in public, the big boss of Top Rank Promotions isn’t convinced Manny Pacquiao will walk away from boxing after his April 9 bout with Tim Bradley.
Arum cites as perfect examples legends Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, who retired from the sport, only to stage a comeback shortly thereafter.
Leonard even retired four times in his colorful and decorated 20-year career.
“No, unfortunately,” was Arum’s curt reply when asked if retirement in boxing is cast in stone. “That’s why I didn’t want to sell this fight based on it being his last fight because I’m not sure it will. Maybe it is, maybe it won’t.”
The veteran promoter also stressed Pacquiao still has a contract with Top Rank that runs until 2017. It was supposed to end in 2016, but the shoulder injury he suffered in his May bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr. kept him idle for almost a year, which automatically extended the deal until next year.
Arum said the contract will end should Pacquiao, indeed, decide to hang up his gloves.
“If he retires, he retires,” he added.
Arum said there’s still a few money-rich fights left for the 37-year-old Pacman, including a showdown with rising star Terrence Crawford and yes, even a rematch with old rival and now retired Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Nonetheless, the 84-year-old promoter extended his gratitude to the Filipino boxing icon should Pacquiao push through with his planned retirement three months from now.
“If this is truly the last time, Manny, it’s been a great ride and I wanna thank you for everything,” Arum told Pacquiao, whom he’s been promoting since 2006.
“In any event, I wanna say what a privilege it’s been to promote you.”