MANNY Pacquiao insisted the recent fight he had against Jeff Horn for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title was his last under his current contract with Top Rank.
Don’t expect the boxing legend to go elsewhere, though.
The 38-year-old Filipino put on record that he has no issue with promoter Bob Arum and added he has no plan of signing up with other promotional outfits even with his Hall of Fame career now at its tail end.
“Wala naman,” was the curt reply of the boxing icon when asked if he’ll finally break away from the promotional outfit that has been handling his career for more than a decade now.
It was the first time Pacquiao has addressed the issue – briefly as it may – since his controversial unanimous decision loss to Horn in Brisbane, Australia three weeks ago.
There are people, including those in the inner circle of Pacquiao, who believe Arum had a hand in the latest loss of the Filipino, especially with the Pacman no longer considered the hottest property of Top Rank and Horn being groomed as a future star.
But Pacquiao said he remains in good terms with the 85-year-old Arum, who is likely to come over by next month to talk about a possible rematch between the Filipino and his Ausssie tormentor.
“OK naman kami ni Bob. Wala naman tayo naging problema sa laban,” he said. “Ang naging problema lang yung mga judges.”
The Horn fight, stressed Pacquiao, was his last with Top Rank, although he did not specify what his next move will be. He also didn’t respond when asked about an Arum claim that his contract with the outfit runs until the end of 2018.
“Last fight ko na ito,” said the legendary fighter, who co-promotes himself under his own MP Promotions.
The last known contract of Pacquiao made public was supposed to expire at the end of 2016. But since he had a one-year layoff after undergoing surgery to repair the rotator cuff on his injured shoulder following the mega-bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr , the contract was extended by another year.
The two-year deal was originally signed in 2014 shortly after the second installment of his trilogy against Tim Bradley.
Pacquiao has fought four times since then – against Mayweather in 2015, Bradley (third fight) and Jessie Vargas in 2016, and Horn this year, in effect completing the regular two fights a year calendar Top Rank usually had for the Filipino southpaw.
“We’ve been doing two fights a year, so we’ll continue to do two fights a year,” said Arum after Pacquiao signed the contract back then.
The Vargas bout last November for the WBO welterweight championship, however, served as Pacquiao’s comeback fight from a brief retirement, adding to the confusion on whether the old deal remains in effect or not.