MANILA, Philippines (CBSNewYork/AP) — Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao confirmed Wednesday that he will come out of retirement to fight WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on Nov. 5 in Las Vegas.
The boxer and Philippines senator issued a statement confirming the bout, saying he would conduct his entire training camp in his home country so he can also attend to his legislative work, as he promised during the election campaign.
His adviser, Michael Koncz, said there will be a promotional tour from Sept. 8-10 in Los Angeles, after which Pacquiao and his team will go home so he can attend to his Senate duties.
The 37-year-old Pacquiao said he was excited to return to the ring and said he has to fight again to earn a living.
Before his last fight in April, he said that he would retire. During the campaign for the May 9 election, he assured Filipino voters that he would focus on legislative work if elected to the Senate.
“Yes, the fight is on. I have agreed to a Nov. 5 fight with reigning WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas,” Pacquiao said.
“Boxing is my passion. I miss what I’d been doing inside the gym and atop the ring,” he added.
Pacquiao, who rose from an impoverished childhood, said boxing is his main source of income. He said he could not rely just on his salary as a public official.
Pacquiao met for two hours with Bob Arum, the head of Top Rank Boxing, on Tuesday night in Manila and they will meet again soon for the contract signing, Koncz said.
Pacquiao’s Senate victory is the latest chapter in his stunning rags-to-riches story. He had worked odd jobs before lacing up the gloves at the age of 12. He rose steadily and became a champion in eight boxing divisions, making him one of the world’s most celebrated and wealthiest athletes.
He had represented southern Sarangani province in the House of Representatives since May 2010, though he had been criticized for seldom showing up for legislative duties due to his preoccupation with boxing.
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