Manny Pacquiao and Argentine WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse pose for photographers during a press conference in Manila, Philippines on Wednesday. Photo: AP Photo/Aaron Favila

MANILA - Manny Pacquiao has not decided on the fate of his long-time American trainer Freddie Roach, the Filipino said as he prepares for his bout against Argentine welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse for the World Boxing Association (WBA) crown in July.

"First, I would like to clarify about that issue with Freddie Roach," the 39-year-old eight-division world champion told a news conference on Wednesday to promote the fight which will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"Freddie and I... we're like a close family, and I didn't make any decision yet about Freddie Roach, but if, assuming, I will make a decision about Freddie Roach and choose Buboy Fernandez as head coach for this fight, I'm still not closing the door with Freddie.

"We just want to try and experience how Buboy will handle this one fight and after that we go back to Freddie," said Pacquiao, who last fought in a unanimous points loss to Australian Jeff Horn in July last year.

Pacquiao also expressed his desire for a bout in Manila, possibly against Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko, after he fights Matthysse.

"That's one of my plans, fighting Lomachenko, and also my plan is to have a fight here in Manila. So either Lomachenko or anybody as long as it's here in Manila, no problem. It's going to be exciting."

Matthysse, who beat Thailand's Tewa Kiram to win the vacant WBA welterweight belt in January, said he would fiercely defend the title.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao has revealed that he will launch a cryptocurrency to connect with fans, but also backed the regulation of virtual currencies.

Pacquiao, one of the world's most successful boxers, is the latest athlete to launch a virtual currency, following Floyd Mayweather and former England striker Michael Owen.

The Singapore-based Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX), in which Pacquiao has invested, said it would unveil the "PAC Token" later this year, which would allow fans to buy the Filipino star's merchandise and interact with him via live-streaming.

"It can be a way to be in touch with the fan base and (there are) a lot of things we can do with this cryptocurrency," Pacquiao told AFP.

Forbes magazine last year listed the boxer - once dirt-poor - as the world's 20th highest-paid athlete of all time, with career earnings of $510 million.

His venture comes as governments across Asia take a more critical look at cryptocurrencies following wild fluctuations in recent months and the high-profile hacking of Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck.

Lawmakers in the Philippines have proposed legislation that would impose stiff penalties for crimes committed using cryptocurrencies.

Pacquiao, who is a member of the Philippine Senate, also backed the regulation of cryptocurrencies.

"It is already regulated in other countries," he said

Reuters/AFP

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