Pacquiao vows to keep fighting: ‘Do I look 39?’

Delfin Dioquino

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Pacquiao vows to keep fighting: ‘Do I look 39?’
The Filipino boxing great plans to defend the WBA regular welterweight belt after snatching it from Argentine Lucas Matthysse

MANILA, Philippines – Nearing 40 years old, it looks like Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is far from hanging up his gloves.

Pacquiao reclaimed lost glory after pulling off a technical knockout win over Argentine Lucas Matthysse to nab the World Boxing Association (WBA) regular welterweight belt in Kualu Lumpur, Malaysia on Sunday, July 15. 

It was his first stoppage win since he TKOed Miguel Cotto in 2009 and now with a title to defend, Pacquiao – despite calls from friends, family and critics to retire – hinted he still has a lot left in the tank. 

“At 39 years old, I’m still okay, I’m still fine. When you see me in training, you can tell I’m like 28, 27 years old,” Pacquiao said in a post-match presser. “You cannot say I’m 39 years old, you can say I’m 28, 27 years old.”

“Do I look 39?” Pacquiao added with a confident smile, drawing laughter and cheers from his large entourage. 

Boxing’s only 8-weight champion, although an inch shorter than his foe, was head and shoulders above the younger Matthysse in terms of speed and skill.

“Pacman” controlled the pace throughout – pushing the action from the get-go and getting the desired results by knocking down the Argentine thrice before referee Kenny Bayless stepped in to stop the bout in the 7th round. 

The future Hall of Famer claimed his 60th win (39 KOs) against 7 losses and two draws to add another color to his storied 23-year career. 

As focus shifts to his next bout, Pacquiao said former stablemate Amir Khan, 3-weight division champ Terence Crawford and WBA (super) lightweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko could be “potential opponents.” 

“If boxing is not my passion, I would not fight again,” he said. “It’s like I’m addicted in boxing and I really love to fight and bringing honor to my country. That’s my heart’s desires.” 

“My next fight, I want to defend my title and my belt and give a good show and do my best in the ring,” Pacquiao added. 

The fighting senator will return to the Philippines to do more work, not in the boxing ring, but in the legislative department. 

“Back to work. There’s going to be a lot of work in the office.” – 

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.