Pacman: Clottey more difficult than Cotto
MANILA, Philippines – (2nd UPDATE) Seven-division world champion Manny Pacquiao returned to a hero's welcome on Monday and hinted at a possible retirement from boxing more than a week after he defeated Ghanaian Joshua Clottey in Texas last March 13.
Pacquiao arrived in Manila aboard Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR 103 from Los Angeles, California. His flight arrived at 5:51 a.m.
“Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat sa walang sawang pagsuporta at nanalo naman ulit tayo. Ang laban ko rin ay alay ko sa sambayanang Pilipino at sa lahat ng sumusuporta sa buong mundo,” he said in his arrival statement.
He was accompanied by his wife, Jinkee, and other Team Pacquiao members such as former environment secretary Jose “Lito” Atienza and former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson.
His children, Jimuel, Michael and Princess, welcomed their superstar father at the airport. His youngest child, Queen Elizabeth, is in General Santos City.
Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar, Jr. also welcomed Pacquiao.
During the press conference, Pacquiao addressed concerns on his reported impending retirement despite calls that he take on the former pound-for-pound champ Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“Baka malay mo baka hindi na ako umabot doon [fight with Mayweather]. Baka mag-retiro na ako. Eh yung Mama [Dionisia Pacquiao] ko, nagmakaawa daw siya para lang ako huminto sa boxing so pag-uusapan namin,” he stated.
He also mentioned that his political ambition has nothing to do with his retirement plans.
“Kahit naman wala ‘yung eleksyon, walang pulitlika, depende na sa desisyon naming pamilya. Matagal na kasi ako, matagal na rin sa boxing. Marami na akong nabigay na karangalan sa ating bansa,” said the Sarangani Province congressional hopeful.
He added that he understands Mommy Dionisia’s concern for his safety in the ring.
“Syempre after kay Cotto nakiusap ako sa Mama ko, ‘Isang laban pa.' Pinagbigyan niya ako. Sa ngayon, paano pa ako makiusap ulit? Ano bang sabihin ko?” he said.
He said he will discuss the matter with his family and announce his decision in due time.
From the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the pound-for-pound king proceeded to the New World Hotel in Makati City where he received a warm welcome.
Pacquiao and his team members had a hearty breakfast and took a brief rest at the hotel.
The pound-for-pound king also had a brief chat with ABS-CBN Correspondent Dyan Castillejo. When asked if he might still fight Mayweather later this year, Pacquiao said: “Puwedeng hindi na.”
Pacquiao then attended a thanksgiving mass at the Quiapo Church in Manila and paid a courtesy call on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Malacañang.
After the courtesy call, the 7-division world champion took part in a motorcade that started at Mendiola Bridge.
The motorcade covered the streets of Legarda, Bustillos, Sampaloc Market, S.H. Loyola, Trabaho Market, Plaza Noli, Matimyas, Blumentritt, Dapitan, Lacson, Yuseco, Raxabago, Juan Luna, Pritil, Moriones, R 10, Zaragoza, Delpan, Anda Circle, Cabildo, Victoria, Gen. Luna, Maria Orosa, T.M. Kalaw, Taft Avenue, Pedro Gil, Paco Market and Sta. Ana Market.
“The People’s Champ” said he will spend time with his family before his campaign kicks off on Friday.
Clottey more difficult than Cotto
Pacquiao retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title on March 13 via unanimous decision (UD) at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
His last 2 fights both went the distance as he scored a 12th round technical knockout win over Cotto last November 14 and churned a UD triumph more than 2 weeks ago.
But for the Filipino boxing icon, he had a more difficult time with Clottey than Cotto: “Kung tutuusin, mas madali pa ang Cotto fight ko sa Clottey fight.”
“Talagang mahirap na laban ‘yung nakaraan dahil si Clottey, grabe, puro depensa lang. Matibay din, ‘di naman siya nakikipagpalitan ng suntok masyado sa akin,” he said, adding that he even got hit in the right eye.
As for Mayweather, Pacquiao stressed that he is not in the position to challenge the American because he reached the top without him.
“‘Di naman siguro ako maghamon dahil sila naman ang may kailangan. Nakamit ko ang pangarap ko sa boxing ko without Floyd Mayweather in my boxing career so walang dapat kailangang i-hamon sa kaniya,” he said.
“Ako naman open ako lumaban sa kaniya. Anytime ako puwedeng lumaban sa kahit sinong boksingero basta pareho ang timbang, magkaroon ng approval sa bawat promoter. Anytime, puwede ako lumaban basta gusto niya lumaban.” – With reports from Pia Gutierrez of ABS-CBN News, The Philippine Star and Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News