MANILA, Philippines – Is it time for Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao to retire?
President Benigno Aquino III thinks so.
Aquino weighed in on the mega fight between Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao and undefeated American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr when asked about his thoughts on it in an interview with Bombo Radyo aired on Thursday, May 14.
The President said he, like the rest of the nation, wished that Pacquiao had won. But unlike some of the boxer's fans who want him to continue fighting, Aquino believed it is time for the 36-year-old to put aside his boxing gloves.
Responding to questions, Aquino said Pacquiao has already “given much honor” to the country, adding that for every fight, “there is potential for him to have an injury for life.”
“If you look at the honor Manny has given us, the sacrifice he has made for the country, maybe it’s time for us to say, ‘Manny, what you’ve done in your field is enough. Maybe it’s best not to gamble your health any longer. Maybe it’s time for us to help you care for you life and your future for your beloved wife and children,’” he said.
Aquino added: “Instead of us pushing, ‘No, we need a rematch,’ [we should say], ‘You don’t need to gamble [your health] again.’ He doesn’t owe us anything.”
The President also said he observed how champion boxer Muhammad Ali has deteriorated over the years, commenting on his trembling hands when he lit the Olympic torch in the last Games. “He spoke so well and now you can barely understand him.”
Pacquiao stayed an extra week in Los Angeles after the fight to undergo surgery for his shoulder rotator cuff tear.
Pacquiao returned to Manila on Wednesday to throngs of supportive fans. The athlete and Sarangani congressman is viewed as a symbol of hope in the Philippines, having come from a background of extreme poverty.
His fight with Mayweather, dubbed as the fight of the century, resulted in a unanimous decision victory for the US boxer. After the bout, Pacquiao disclosed he injured his shoulder in training camp 3 weeks before the fight.