Floored by the warm reception given him upon his arrival, Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao is not closing his doors on the possibility of staging his farewell bout in Dubai.
Pacquiao, who wears another hat as a professional basketball player, is currently in the Gulf state with his Philippine Basketball Association team, the Mahindra Enforcers, where he serves as playing-coach.
Mahindra is set to face the Alaska Aces in one of the PBA’s featured games at the Al Wasl Club on Thursday, November 5, in what is expected to be predominantly Filipino crowd made up of overseas workers.
Still recovering from a rotator cuff tear he suffered during his megabuck fight versus American pound-for-pound king and now retired Floyd Mayweather Jr. last May, the eight-division world champion earlier said he is set to return back in the ring April of next year.
Recent news said that it will be Pacquiao’s last fight as he is bent on concentrating being a full-time politician – he filed his candidacy for a senatorial seat last month for the national elections slated May 2016.
His opponent, though, has yet to be named.
At present, Britain’s Amir Khan and the United States’ Terence Crawford are the most talked about names being considered to be Pacquiao’s next in-ring foe.
Then there’s still the persistent talks of Pacquiao still pushing for a rematch with Mayweather.
“I don’t know yet but I am open to a re-match with him but it depends on the negotiation. I am open to fight anybody, there’s Amir Khan, the re-match with Floyd, but there’s also Danny Garcia and Terence Crawford on the radar,” Pacquiao told GulfNews.com upon his arrival at the emirate.
Asked if he’s open to holding his last fight in Dubai, Pacquiao was quick to answer with: “Of course I would like to have my next fight in Dubai, we are working on that.”
For Dubai’s sports officials, they, too, are open at the possibility.
“Definitely, we are looking for that, nothing’s official but if he wants to, definitely we will sit and discuss it,” Saeed Hareb, Dubai Sports Council general secretary stated.