Manny Pacquiao is set to return to the ring on April 9 when he faces off with Timothy Bradley. The boxer hasn’t fought since he lost to Floyd Mayweather, and he’s confident heading into what he says will be the final fight of his career.
Pacquiao maintains that he won’t fight beyond April so he can continue his career as a politician in his native Philippines. He’ll follow in Mayweather’s footsteps, who said good-bye to the sport in September when he defeated Andre Berto.
“I know [it's time to retire] because after this, I have another big responsibility in the Philippines, which is serving the people,” Pacquiao told reporters on Tuesday. “My family wanted me to retire before I fought Mayweather. I started this boxing just to help my mother, and I'll end my boxing career to help the country."
Pacquiao hopes to end a Hall-of-Fame career on a high note. After losing just three of his first 59 professional fights, the welterweight has lost three of his last six bouts. While Pacquiao and Mayweather have been considered the best boxers of their generation, the 37-year-old was no match for Mayweather, who won a unanimous decision.
Having injured his right shoulder in training camp and requiring surgery just a few days after he lost to Mayweather, Pacquiao wasn’t at full strength in the May 2 bout. There has been some controversy surrounding his decision not to delay the fight because of his injury, but Pacquiao insists he made the correct choice.
"I never regret,” Pacquiao said. “In fact, I thought I won the fight. A lot of people, my fans, believe I won the fight.”
More than eight months removed from surgery, Pacquiao feels healthy going into his bout with Bradley, It’s the third time that the boxers will meet, and Bradley is responsible for one of PacMan’s three loses since 2012.
Pacquiao won the 2014 rematch with Bradley by unanimous decision, and most experts who watched their 2012 bout felt Bradley should not have been awarded a split decision victory. The current WBO welterweight champion, Bradley might be fighting better than he ever has. He won a ninth-round TKO over Brandon Rios in November, and he appears to be rejuvenated under trainer Teddy Atlas.
“Bradley has improved a lot since we had our last fight,” Pacquiao said. “He fought [Brandon] Rios and he knocked him out with a body punch.”
With less than three months to go until their next fight, Pacquiao is a -275 favorite over Bradley at Bovada.lv.