Pacquiao made retirement U-turn to continue his 'journey'

Thu Sep 8, 2016 7:53pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - While Manny Pacquiao's political career became a priority after he announced his "retirement" from the ring in April, he says the lure of continuing his journey in boxing ultimately led to his comeback.

Seven months after defeating American Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas in his much trumpeted farewell to the sport, the Filipino southpaw will return to the same city in November to challenge World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Jessie Vargas.

Though Pacquiao is an eight-division world champion and one of the greatest boxers ever, the whole experience of preparing for that Nov. 5 fight feels strange as he will be competing for the first time as an elected senator in his homeland.

"This is very different," a smartly dressed Pacquiao, 37, told Reuters after holding a joint news conference with American Vargas in the chic surrounds of The Beverly Hills Hotel.

"This is my first fight since I was elected as a senator and it's a big challenge for me to try to get the belt and become a champion again, to win the fight as a senator.

"It's also a big challenge for me to get back in the ring again and to prove that I can still manage serving the people and also be a successful boxer."

Pacquiao (58-6-2) was elected to the Philippines' senate in May.

Asked what had prompted his decision to come out of retirement, Pacquiao smiled: "The main reason is because when I hung up my gloves, I realized that the sport that I loved, I was no longer active with that.   Continued...

USA Boxing - Manny Pacquiao & Jessie Vargas - Head-to-Head Press Conference - Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills - 8/9/16Manny Pacquiao during the press conference. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson