GENERAL SANTOS – Manny Pacquiao said Monday he was good for “two or three” more fights, naming Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko or Floyd Mayweather as possible opponents a day after winning a new world title.
The 39-year-old Filipino shrugged off renewed calls by friends including President Rodrigo Duterte to hang up his gloves after stopping World Boxing Association welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse, saying he would be “lonely” outside the ring.
Pacquiao flew back from Kuala Lumpur to his southern Philippine home town Monday, where a crowd of at least a thousand supporters waited for more than four hours to wave at or shake hands with him.
“I feel good for now. Boxing is my passion and I would be lonely if I quit boxing,” he told reporters. “I believe I still have two or three fights left in me.”
Pacquiao, already one of the greatest boxers in history with unprecedented world titles in eight weight classes, silenced some of his critics last weekend by pummelling the dangerous Argentine into submission by technical knockout in the seventh round.
It was the first knockout win in nine years for the rags-to-riches southpaw, who is now an elected Philippine senator but who lost his World Boxing Organization welterweight title to unfancied Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane last year.
Pacquiao, now with a win-loss-draw record of 60-7-2, said he was enjoying his win and was not in negotiations at this time for his next bout.
However he said he would relish another bout with Mayweather, who beat Pacquiao on points in 2015 and later retired undefeated.
“If Mayweather comes back to boxing there is a possibility of a rematch,” he said. “But there are many other challenges, like Crawford, Lomachenko, Amir Khan and many others,” he added.
The undefeated American Crawford beat Horn for the WBO welterweight title last month, while Lomachenko holds the WBA super world lightweight title.
Pacquiao soaked up the adulation Monday as a brass band played and a police and military honour guard staged a welcome at the airport in the city of General Santos on Mindanao Island.
“I'm a diehard fan of the senator. As you can see, I brought my baby along because I wanted to see a man who had made the Philippines proud,” resident Bayra Malagat told AFP as she joined the welcoming crowds while cradling her two-year-old boy.
“We're here to see Manny. Hopefully we get a glimpse of him and get a photo, hopefully,” Cieran Fox, one of two southern Philippines-based Irishmen in the welcoming crowd, told AFP.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)