Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday played down reports linking him to a bid for the presidency of the Philippines, insisting he remained solely focused on the twilight of his boxing career.
The 40-year-old Pacquiao, who is currently a member of the country’s Senate has been repeatedly linked to a future run for the presidency in his homeland where he is revered as a national hero.
Pacquiao told reporters that he had put any future political aspirations on hold as he prepares to defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) regular welterweight title against Adrien Broner on January 19, 2019 in Las Vegas.
He said: “A lot of people are saying that I can be the next President. But I’m not thinking about that. I don’t have plans right now. Whatever path that God gives to me, I will fulfill it.
“Being a public servant is different from sports. It’s more on the mind and a lot of problems, thinking about how to solve those problems in the country and also to provide solution to those problems.”
Pacquiao would be reuniting with his longtime trainer, Freddie Roach for his clash with Broner at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, after a two-year rupture in what was once regarded as one of the most tightly knit fighter-trainer relationships in boxing history.
Roach, who had worked with Pacquiao for 15 years before they parted ways two years ago however said he was convinced that the Filipino was eyeing a future run for the presidency.
“I haven’t spoken to him about running for president but he wants to help the people and the best way to help people is to be the boss. He probably wants to be the first President to win a world championship. He’s always been a guy who does 100 things at once,” Roach said.
Interestingly, Pacquiao who has a record of 60-7 with two draws and 39 knockouts in a career which began in 1995 came face to face with old rival, America’s Floyd Mayweather while attending an NBA game at the Staples Center on Tuesday.
Mayweather scored a victory over Pacquiao in a lucrative 2015 bout before heading into retirement. Speculations of a possible rematch between both pugilists have continued to rumble despite Mayweather’s absence from the ring.