Good news for Manny Pacquiao and local basketball fans in the Philippines as the Filipino champion has vowed to focus on his next fight, against American Timothy Bradley on April 9, 2016 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States and won’t play basketball until the fight is over.
Pacquiao, who has been criticized by boxing observers for his lack of focus and dealing with unnecessary distractions leading up to past fights, promised he would not suit up for the Kia Mahindra team in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) until after the fight with Bradley.
“I won’t be playing [in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup which starts Feb. 10] until after the fight,” Pacquiao told The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Pacquiao’s stint in the local pro basketball league is seen as a novelty act, which has affected the reputation of the league after he was drafted in the league’s rookie draft in 2012.
Some sports fans in the country protested Pacquiao’s participation in the league and even one former player in the league, American Daniel Orton, called Pacquiao’s PBA stint as a “joke”.
“That’s a joke. That’s part of the joke I was talking about. Professional boxer, yeah okay. Congressman, alright. Professional basketball player? No. It’s a joke. Seriously, it’s a joke,” Orton said early in 2015 when asked about the boxers’ venture into basketball.
Pacquiao, who is also the head coach for his team, will meet Bradley for the third time in his career after losing in a controversial split decision loss in 2012 and after winning in their second meeting in 2014.
Pacquiao, who has recovered from a shoulder injury he suffered during the training camp for the Floyd Mayweather fight in May 2015, has been criticized for choosing Bradley for his comeback fight.
Pacquiao had other options like British boxer Amir Khan and American boxers Terence Crawford and Adrien Broner as opponent in the April fight but chose to go with an opponent who is not seen as a serious challenger as many thought Pacquiao won the first two fights against Bradley.
Photo courtesy: ftw.usatoday.com