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Pacquiao denies asking for Senate leave but hints at boxing return

Isaac Brekker/AP (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Senator Manny Pacquiao denied a report that he is set to file a leave from the Senate to return to boxing.

According to Ryan Burton of Boxing Scene, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said that Pacquiao already asked Senate President Frank Drilon about taking a leave of absence to return to the ring as soon as Oct. 16 (Philippine Time).

But in an official statement on Wednesday, the former nine-time world champion in eight divisions said, "There is no truth to media reports that I'm planning to take a leave from Senate duties just to fight again atop the ring. I want to make it clear--my priority is my legislative duties."

Pacquiao also reiterated, "When I ran for senator last May 9 elections, I made a promise to be present in all sessions. I owe it to the people."

However, Pacquiao, who called it a career after his April 10 (Philippine Time) win against Tim Bradley, dropped a hint that he could give boxing another try.

"My next fight has not yet been discussed. Should there be any, I'll make sure it will not interfere with my Senate duties.... If ever I decide to fight again, rest assured, it will happen when [the] Congress is on recess.... The entire training will be done in the Philippines to ensure I can attend sessions even while on training camp," Pacquiao's statement continued.

He also vowed that he will not be a corrupt leader and, should he indeed make a boxing comeback, will only spend the money he will earn from his upcoming fights.

"Boxing is my only means of livelihood to support my family and to help those who are in need. Politics, to me, is a vocation, not a means to eke out a living. I want to maintain that belief. I want to keep my dignity intact while in public service," Pacquiao further said.

The statement, however, did not state on whether he will set aside his duties as Mahindra coach as well for his senatorial job.

Mahindra takes on Star in the second game of the first PBA Governors' Cup doubleheader on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The statement can be seen fully below.
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