NEW YORK CITY – He may finally be walking away from boxing, but not from basketball.
Ring legend Manny Pacquiao says he is not inclined to give up his post as playing-coach of Mahindra in the PBA despite not having joined the Enforcers the past two months in their campaign in the Smart Bro-Philippine Cup.
The 37-year-old eight-division world champion played his last game with the two-year-old franchise against Alaska in an out-of-the-country game in Dubai last November.
Pacquiao has not attended any games or practices since then for the two-year-old franchise, including its do-or-die game against Blackwater for the remaining playoff berth in the all-Filipino conference, which the Elite won.
“Hindi ko nga natututukan 'yung team,” lamented Pacquiao, who’s place has been ably taken over by chief deputy Chito Victolero.
But the boxing hero said he’s not about to give up his dual role with the Enforcers.
“Siguro tsaka na ako maglalaro after the fight,” he said, referring to his April 9 World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title match against reigning champion Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“Ang hirap kasi, iniisip ko rin 'yung injury. Mag-concentrate muna ako dito sa laban,” added Pacquiao, who left this city for Manila early Friday after a whirlwind two-city press tour to promote his fight with Bradley.
Pacquiao said he needs to put more time in training for the Bradley fight, especially since he already committed it as the final match of his illustrious 21-year pro career.
Training camp won’t start until midway of February.
The mid-season Commissioner’s won’t start until February 10, which means the lefty boxing icon will also not be around for most of the second conference.
“Dito muna ako buhos,” he said of his planned two-month training for the Bradley fight.