Manny Pacquiao may be changed, but ultimate foe remains Floyd Mayweather Jr.


Manny Pacquiao regains the championship belt. (Isaac Brekken / AP)

This time, Manny Pacquiao celebrated differently.

After being crowned WBO welterweight champion with a unanimous decision victory over Timothy Bradley on Saturday night, Pacquiao and his party packed into his Mandalay Bay suite in Las Vegas for a worship service led by Pacquiao’s minister. USA Today’s Bob Velin reports that Pacquiao, “once a gambling, womanizing, party animal whose idea of fun was cockfighting in the Philippines and singing rock songs after fights,” is a changed man at 35, one happier surrounded by 75-100 Filipino, men, women and children.

“It means a lot,” Pacquiao told Velin. “It’s really important to have these people around me. They all flew in from the Philippines to watch the fight. They’re going home happy.”

Pacquiao won a clear victory, unlike his earlier bout with Bradley, who won on a controversial decision by judges no longer in the sport. He went into the rematch with questions swirling about his aggressiveness and ability, but was satisfied that he’d put that debate to rest. As for the end of his boxing career, it’s not here — yet. “Many people were saying it’s over, he’s too busy in congress, and doesn’t have time for boxing. But I still proved it’s not over and [the victory] was the evidence.”

Pacquiao estimates that he’ll fight another two years, perhaps enough time for the fight everyone wants to see against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. “I think about that,” he admitted, “but I don’t know if that fight will happen. If you ask me, 100 percent. I want that fight. It depends on them.

“My telephone line is open 24 hours. Seven days a week.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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