Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao is in a “must-win” situation, according to Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach, with less than a week to go before taking on unbeaten American Timothy Bradley Jr. in a rematch.
Pacquiao controversially lost to Bradley when they first fought in June 2012, and will be the challenger when he steps into the ring on April 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“This is a must-win situation on Saturday night,” Roach told Gareth A. Davies of The Telegraph.
“If we don’t win this fight, we have to consider maybe retirement,” he admitted.
Pacquiao has been facing questions about his boxing future since December 2012, when he was shockingly knocked out by Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez, just months after he lost to Bradley.
He rebounded with a masterful performance against the overmatched Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios in November 2013, but Roach acknowledged that there are still those who doubt that the Filipino remains an elite fighter.
“This is a big, big fight for him,” he said. “We are in a must-win situation, it’s as simple as that. Some people think we are all done, and we have to prove that we are not.”
On Monday, Pacquiao said on ANC’s “Headstart” that he still has something left to prove and insisted that he alone will decide on his retirement.
“(Kailangan) patunayan na hindi pa tapos ‘yung career natin,” said Pacquiao, who for a time was the pound-for-pound king of boxing.
“Ayokong mag-retiro ng maaga, tapos babalik ako later on. Gusto ko, sulit. Pag retiro, retiro na, wala ng balikan. Ako naman ang magsasabi na ‘I think I have to hang up my gloves,’” said the Filipino idol.
Pacquiao insisted that he does not yet feel the need to retire, as he is still hungry to compete and still looks forward to the daily grind of training.
“Training lang naman ang capital ng boxing. Kapag dumating ang time na medyo tamarin ka na, eh medyo mag-isip-isip ka na,” he said.