After his victory Saturday night over Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao said he is going to retire, but he admitted that he wanted to “think about it.”
The decision isn’t a simple one, especially given Pacquiao’s controversial anti-gay comments earlier this year. Although he has apologized, deciding to fight again might be a problem for HBO, the network that aired the pay-per-view bout with Bradley. His comment that gay people are “worse than animals” already cost him a business arrangement with Nike.
HBO faced criticism over the weekend because of Pacquiao’s comment on a Philippines TV broadcast. HBO, which has a reputation for ground-breaking productions like “The Normal Heart” and “Angels in America,” continued with its plan to air the pay-per-view bout against Bradley although the New York Post reported Friday that the network would keep its options open regarding future deals with Pacquiao.
“HBO are hedging their bets. It’s understandable, but disappointing,” Brooklyn Community Pride Center executive director Floyd Rumohr told the New York Post. “If they could follow Nike’s lead, why the ambiguity? Let’s make a decision and move on.”
It’s never that cut and dried in the high-stakes world of boxing, where Pacquiao’s 22 pay-per-view fights have generated $1.2 billion in PPV revenue. Pacquiao defeated Bradley by a margin of 116-110 on all three judges’ scorecards, winning the WBO welterweight championship in Las Vegas and triggering talk of another bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Last year’s so-called fight of the century was a dud, with Mayweather winning easily. On Saturday night, Pacquiao, who is running for a Senate seat in May elections in his native country, was asked about his plans.
“As of now I am retired,” Pacquiao said. “I am going to go home and think about it but I want to be with my family. I want to serve the people.”
If elected, Pacquiao’s political career would presumably take precedence over boxing and he said before the Bradley fight that his wife is urging him to retire. Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter and CEO of Top Rank Productions, is a realist, though, about what Pacquiao’s comments mean.
“Manny told me that he was going to retire after this fight,” Arum said, “but I have been around this business for 50 years and a lot of fighters can’t walk away.”