Manny Pacquiao is determined to return to the boxing ring in 2016. But he also plans to do battle in the political arena next spring in his native Philippines.
The 36-year-old, eight-division champion announced Tuesday he will run for the senate in his country next May. Pacquiao is currently in his second term as a congressman in Sarangani Province.
According to Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who is Pacquiao’s longtime promoter, Pacquiao has recovered from rotor cuff surgery to his right shoulder following his May 2 loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden. The plan is for Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 knockouts) to return to the ring in the first quarter of 2016. An MRI on the fighter’s rotator cuff was taken in the Philippines and was sent to Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the surgery on Pacquiao, in Los Angeles. According to Arum, ElAttrache was satisfied with what he saw.
“Everything is fine with the shoulder,” Arum said. “They did the MRI and everything looked good. He’s been playing basketball and it’s a matter of when Manny wants to get back in the gym.”
Because of the campaigning that will be required of Pacquiao back in the Philippines in his run for the senate, Arum said the deadline for Pacquiao to fight is April 9. He said Las Vegas is in play though he admitted Pacquiao is not happy with the Nevada Athletic Commission because of its decision to deny him a pain-killing shot to his rotator cuff prior to entering the ring against Mayweather.
“We’ve got time to get everything figured out,” Arum said. “There’s a group in the mid-east that is still trying to get Manny to fight there so we have to see how that plays out. But Las Vegas makes the most sense because of the (HBO) pay per view.”
Arum said the new $375 million MGM-AEG arena being completed behind New York-New York isn’t an option because the 20,000-seat arena isn’t scheduled to open until April 16. Arum also believes MGM officials are holding a date for Mayweather to be the first fight in the new building if Mayweather decides to cut short his retirement though Mayweather and his manager Leonard Ellerbe said they have not talked to the MGM about performing in the new building. Mayweather said he was leaving the sport as an active participant after going to 49-0 following his Sept. 12 win over Andre Berto at the Grand Garden.
“We can go to the Thomas & Mack (Center) or Mandalay Bay or the Grand Garden,” Arum said.
But when asked if he could do business with MGM management after their nasty war of words in April 2014 when the promotion of Pacquiao’s rematch with Timothy Bradley conflicted with promotional material on the MGM’s property for Mayweather’s fight with Marcos Maidana a few weeks later, Arum, who was not the lead promoter for Mayweather-Pacquiao, said, “That’s what lawyers are for.”
There has been much speculation the last couple of years that Pacquiao would run for the senate. And with his boxing career winding down, Pacquiao obviously has plans to remain in politics.
During his two terms in congress, he has supported legislation in the Philippines for combating sex trafficking nationwide as well as raising money for hospitals and schools in his district.
“It’s a logical progression for his political career,” Arum said. “The senate in the Philippines is very prestigious. There’s only 24 seats and it’s a nationwide election. There’s 12 seats in this election and the top 12 vote-getters get elected.”
Arum said Pacquiao is currently seventh among the candidates in the latest polls back in the Philippines. He has yet to announce the party in which he will seek the seat.
“You have to understand Manny’s popularity is nationwide,” Arum said. “We talked about him running (for senator) three weeks ago and he wouldn’t do it unless he thought he could win.”