MANILA, Philippines – Eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao remains hopeful that he will get to fight in front of his countrymen before he retires from boxing.
The 35-year-old Pacquiao has three to four fights left before calling it quits. He said he wants one of those bouts to take place somewhere in the Philippines.
"Malaking event kasi 'yan pag dito sa Pilipinas ang laban," Pacquiao, who got back his WBO welterweight belt from Timothy Bradley, said following his arrival in General Santos City on Friday.
The fighting congressman of Sarangani province said they actually pushed to have the Brandon Rios fight in Manila, but he said things didn't work out as planned.
"Sinubukan natin yung Rios fight na dito maganap sa Pilipinas. Kaso lang naka-oo na yung promoter ko sa Macau, dapat dito sa Pilipinas ‘yun," said Pacquiao.
The Filipino boxing icon arrived in Manila on Good Friday before taking a connecting flight to General Santos City.
There, he was welcomed by military honors and greeted by cheering fans and political allies.
He will be taking a break from boxing, while taking care of his wife Jinkee who is due to give birth to their fifth child.
When asked about his next fight, Pacquiao said he'll leave the matter to his promoter, Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum.
He revealed that they will resume talks in a month's time.
Boxing experts and fight fans are anticipating Pacquiao to take on his Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez or that he'll go for a more lucrative bout against American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. -- With a report from Jay Dayupay, ABS-CBN General Santos City