Manny Pacquiao was the crowd favorite before the bell rang for round one of his much hyped encounter with Floyd Mayweather on May 2nd.
12 rounds, and one humbling defeat later, though, and the Filipino boxer was being criticized for the way he went about attempting to beat his American counterpart. The undisclosed shoulder injury that followed turned the disappointment to anger in some quarters.
Pacquiao retains his superstar status in his native Philippines however. The scenes that greeted his return today prove as much. And, fresh off the back of surgery, the veteran fighter had some very interesting news, both on a potential rematch with Mayweather and future in the sport as a whole.
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Pacquiao arrived to a hero's welcome in Manila but had some words of warning for those hoping to see him make a triumphant return in the ring:
"I will focus on healing my shoulder," he explained. "After than, I will announce continuing my career or retirement."
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"I'm not saying I am going to retire, but it's near. I'm already 36, turning 37 this December."
Facing several months off to rehabilitate his right shoulder - an injury he blamed for his defeat to Mayweather - Pacquiao's future certainly looks uncertain.
Having looked slow and past his prime in the MGM Grand bout earlier this month there will be plenty of people hoping the Filipino does opt to hang up the gloves. Manny Pacquiao, though, made sure not to rule out a rematch against Floyd Mayweather:
"I (would) like that. I want that. But my focus right now is my shoulder, my work as a congressman and my family."
Mayweather vs Pacquiao take two may not have quite the same anticipation considering the underwhelming bout first time round but the $500 million generated by the fight will keep all parties interested for the time being.
The US fighter had been the first to put a rematch on the table via a text to Stephen A. Smith. Mayweather has since backtracked on that offer though, saying Pacquiao is no longer deserving of the opportunity having acted like a "sore loser."
Mayweather himself is believed to have only one more fight in him and this is scheduled to take place in September. With Pacquiao likely still recovering from surgery that throws another spanner in the works for the Filipino.
Boxing fans: Would you want to see a Mayweather vs Pacquiao rematch? Let us know in the comments section below...
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