Mendoza: Deep in his heart, Pacquiao wants rematch

Al S. Mendoza

IT NOW seems obvious: Retirement is farthest from Manny Pacquiao’s mind.

Seemingly inspired by his unanimous win over Oscar Vargas in November, Pacquiao said he will have two fights in 2017—June and November.

That is, if we believe Bob Arum.

To those not yet in the know, there is only one person that Pacquiao listens to: Bob Arum.

Since Pacquiao shacked up with Arum in 2006, they’d become inseparable as horse and carriage.

That union was sealed at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. I know. I was there.

It happened after Manny Pacquiao had kayoed Erik Morales in the third round. The knockout ended the fabled Pacquiao-Morales trilogy in Pacquiao’s favor, 2-1.

More history, you say?

OK, Pacquiao lost the first fight to Morales on points.

An eyebrow cut in the fifth round that kept bleeding massively marred Manny’s target the rest of the way.

He avenged that defeat in their rematch via a knockout, necessitating that decider in November 2006.

After suffering a second straight knockout loss to Pacquiao, Morales’ career would begin to deteriorate.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s stock would continue rising.

Pacquiao scored one big win after another, including knockout victories over such big shots like Ricky Hatton, Oscar Dela Hoya and Miguel Cotto.

He decisively beat both Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley.

Only when Pacquiao absorbed that 2012 stinging knockout loss from Juan Manuel Marquez did people began to doubt Manny’s career.

Was it fading? Time to call it a day? And even PacMom Dionisia, right after the knockout, shouted at the top of her lungs: “Stop na talaga!” She had wanted her son to retire, finally. After all, Pacquiao has achieved the unachievable: Win eight world titles in eight different weight divisions. No one has ever done that. Not even the legendary Muhammad Ali (R.I.P.). Not even Floyd Mayweather Jr., unbeaten in 49 fights.

Oh, yes, Mayweather.

Pacquiao badly wants him in a rematch to avenge his 2015 loss on points—a setback that was absolutely expected because Pacquiao fought with only one healthy arm.

Mayweather has since retired but Pacquiao, who has un-retired in November after calling it quits in April, believes that Floyd will fight him again. Let’s see.