Eight-division title holder Manny Pacquiao appears to be paving the way for his retirement from boxing after regaining the WBO welterweight title from erstwhile unbeaten American boxer Timothy Bradley on April 12.
On Thursday, Pacquiao announced that beginning Oct 21, he will be the playing coach of Kia Motors when the expanded team debuts at the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Kia was accepted in the PBA in April.
The 35-year-old Filipino boxer and congressman disclosed the latest development in his sports career after a meeting on the same day with Ginia Domingo, head of Columbia Autocar, the distributor of Kia cars in the Philippines.
He said he has not signed yet a contract with Kia, but considers the deal done.
Pacquiao disclosed that in wanting to be a playing coach, he wants to follow the footstep of Filipino basketball icon, Robert Jaworski, who was a top player and eventually became playing coach. Like Pacquiao, Jaworski eventually branched out into politics and became a senator.
While he is known for his deadly left hook, Pacquiao said he has enough coaching skills since he actually coaches Team Pacquiao basketball touring team when it joins various minor leagues.
Some sports observers may see in Pacquiao's surprise move his way of saying goodbye to boxing amid observations that even if many admired his convincing win over Bradley, the southpaw's punching power has considerably weakened due to age and he has not knocked out an opponent in six years.
Pacquiao said that he has cleared his plan to be a playing coach with Top Rank boss Bob Arum even as he assured boxing fans he won't hang his gloves just yet.
"I'm just a coach. I'll play once in a while, but there are a lot of players. The important thing is we win," Spin.ph quoted Pacquiao.
Notwithstanding that Filipinos are basketball fanatics more than boxing - except when it's Manny who is inside the ring - many of Pacquiao's fans are hoping that the Dream Match against Floyd Mayweather Jr would still take place for the two great pugilists to finally settle the question who really deserves the title pound-for-pound king.
And in case Mayweather wins, Pacquiao can perhaps settle for another title: rebound-for-rebound king!