MANILA, Philippines – After proving he had plenty left in the tank by cruising to a unanimous decision win over Jessie Vargas earlier this month, Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said retirement is not at all in his mind.
Pacquiao ended a very brief retirement period on November 5, when he dropped Vargas once en route to a unanimous decision victory that allowed him to regain the WBO welterweight belt. It was an impressive performance for the "Pacman," as he showed off his speed and skill against an opponent who was 10 years younger.
Speaking to Karen Davila on ANC's "Headstart" on Tuesday, Pacquiao said that he was not in any way surprised with how he fought against Vargas.
"Naniniwala pa rin ako sa kakayahan ko," he explained. "Disiplina lang kasi ang kailangan, how you discipline yourself, and work hard."
[I believe in what I can do. You just need discipline and hard work.]
Pressed regarding his retirement plans, Pacquiao said he was "still okay," and that he felt so much younger than his 37 years. "Ang feeling ko, mga 25 lang ako eh. Nasa mga 28 lang ako, ganoon," he said.
[I feel like I'm 25 or 28 years old.]
Yet the eight-division world champion also knows when to stop.
"Pagka dumating na 'yung time na tamad na ako," he said. "Kasi once na mag-iral na 'yung may katamaran ka na, doon na magsisimula 'yung decline ng performance mo at ng body mo."
[Once I start feeling lazy, that's the time to stop. When you start becoming lazy, that's when your performance and your body will decline.]
For now, however, Pacquiao does not feel any laziness. Indeed, he returned to boxing barely six months after his retirement precisely because he missed the sport, even the grunt work that leads up to a fight.
In fact, chief trainer Freddie Roach raved about Pacquiao's performance in his training camp for the Vargas bout, noting that the boxer remained as driven as ever even as he had to balance his preparation with his duties as a Senator.
Currently, there are no plans for Pacquiao's next fight, though his promoter, Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum, has a list of potential opponents in mind.
The Filipino star also said he is open to a rematch against American superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr., who retired in September 2015.
"Of course, if he wants to come back to boxing," said Pacquiao of Mayweather, who fanned rumors of a rematch by watching at ringside while the Filipino fought Vargas.
Right now, however, there are no concrete plans. "My focus right now is my work (in the Senate)," he said.
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