LOS ANGELES – Manny Pacquiao has put Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the clock by revealing a structured fighting schedule that will take him to the end of his career.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum exclusively told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday that the pound-for-pound king and his advisors have devised a strategy for the next two years that is aimed toward him entering the ring five more times before retiring.
The detailed plan was prompted by Pacquiao’s political ambitions and an alliance that he recently formed with a regional governor in the Philippines that will allow him to take the next step up his nation’s congressional ladder.
Arum revealed that after a bout with Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas on November 12, Pacquiao will fight again in early May and in then Nov. 2012, with his last fight of significance in the United States set for May 2013. He would then have a farewell fight in the Philippines in late 2013.
These revelations increase the heat on Mayweather to strike a deal over the fight that all boxing fans want to see. Negotiations have broken down several times with the main sticking point being Mayweather’s insistence on a type of drug testing beyond that which is required by the Nevada Athletic Commission, a point he made clear during a recent media gathering.
“It starts with me first,” said Mayweather. “I've got to make a stand. You got to start with the face of boxing first. So I'm making a stand. If Manny Pacquiao is one of the faces of boxing, he should make the same stand. “
Arum, though, says Pacquiao is thinking about the bigger picture. “It is important to remember that Manny has a lot going on in his life, not just boxing,” Arum said in a private interview at the Beverly Hills Hotel. “With a lot of fighters there is some flexibility in when they can fight because that is all they do.
“But with Manny, when I look at his destiny, boxing is only a part of it. Boxing is only a means for him to achieve that destiny, which is helping the people of the Philippines and being a force for good.
“The fact is that there is going to be a point where he has to leave boxing to pursue these others ambitions and this other calling that he has, and that point is dictated by the timescales of politics.”
Recent developments in the Philippines mean Pacquiao has been given a unique opportunity to super-charge his political career. He has struck an alliance with the reigning governor of Sarangani province, Miguel Rene Dominguez, whereby Dominguez will stand down at the end of his current term and throw his backing behind the boxer.
“They will effectively trade positions,” said Pacquiao’s advisor and confidante Michael Koncz. “Manny will run for governor and ‘Migs,’ who is a good friend of ours, will take Manny’s congressional seat.
With the support of the popular Dominguez behind him, it is expected that Pacquiao would run unopposed for governor. Unlike his congressional seat, the new position would necessitate a full-time workload, which Arum admits “would mean the end for his boxing.”
That would pave the way for further political steps which could take Pacquiao all the way to the highest office in the land. Once his three-year term as governor is completed, Pacquiao would be old enough to run for the Philippines’ senate, in which incumbents sit for six years. After that, he would then be eligible to run for president, with many Filipinos already voicing their support for his ticket in 2022.
Before then, boxing desperately hopes that he will fight Mayweather in what would be one of the most anticipated matchup in history. Mayweather has never been defeated, winning 41 straight with 25 knockouts.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao has won 14 straight and risen through the weight classes, winning world titles in a record eight divisions.
A showdown between the pair would generate an unprecedented amount of money in boxing, but that may depend on Mayweather showing flexibility in his demands. Pacquiao’s camp claims they have made significant concessions on the subject of testing and will not bend further.
“I don’t see drugs or take drugs in my career,” Pacquiao said. “I don’t know what he is talking about. We have a commission and we have to follow the rules. Why is he wanting to create his own regulations? He is not a commission.
“He is creating his own rules because he doesn’t want to fight. A real champion, a real fighter – he doesn’t make excuses, he will fight anybody.”
Mayweather, though, stands his ground. “I'm not ducking and dodging no fighter, never have,” said Mayweather. “If he wants to fight, take the test and we got a fight. It's that simple. At the end of the day, all roads lead to Floyd Mayweather.”
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- Manny Pacquiao