Despite Manny Pacquiao claiming that his April 9 rubber match (of sorts) with Tim Bradley will be the last fight of his illustrious career, and even though trainer Freddie Roach understands that that's where Pacquiao's head is at right now, Roach still doesn't believe it will indeed by Manny's final time in the ring.
"If he doesn't win the senate race, what will he do? Does he go back to being a congressman? Being a congressman and a boxer is OK. Being a senator and boxer may be a little too much. ... I do know Manny well, though. He would love to be the senator who defended his title someday. I don't think this is his last fight for some reason. I just don't see it because he has a lot left in him. His work ethic is still great. I'd be disappointed if this was his last fight."
Roach says that Pacquiao is still "80 percent" of the fighter he was at his peak, and claims that Pacquiao is actually looking for a knockout in this fight, something that Roach says hasn't been there for a while.
Pacquiao, 37, hasn't fought since last May, following a loss to Floyd Mayweather and then shoulder surgery. Roach would still like to see a rematch with Mayweather, believing that Pacquiao can do better when healthy, but Mayweather, too, is officially retired, at least for now, and getting both guys to come back, plus actually working that fight out logistically again, seems like a real task.
Still, few seem to be truly certain that Mayweather is actually never going to fight again, and with Pacquiao, there are sure to be many doubters of a concrete retirement. The difference here is that Pacquiao would be truly set into a career politics if he wins his senate race this spring, but even still, a fighter's a fighter, and the bug might get to Manny sooner than later if he really tries to step away from the ring. He's been doing this his entire adult life and then some.