By CARLO ANOLIN
The World Boxing Association (WBA) is set to name Manny Pacquiao as its “champion for life” despite falling to Cuban foe Yordenis Ugas over the weekend.
No less than WBA President Gilberto Mendoza Jr. made the announcement and met Pacquiao personally to relay the apology prior to the super WBA welterweight title bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada last Saturday, Aug. 21 there (Sunday in Manila).
Videos circulating on social media and renowned boxing channels on Youtube can be seen Pacquiao and Mendoza talking alongside MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons.
The WBA chief also apologized to the 42-year-old Pacquiao after its decision to strip him off his super WBA title, now owned by Ugas, and declare him “champion in recess” last January.
It would be recalled that the WBA also denied Pacquiao’s appeal for reinstatement last month but Ugas’ unanimous decision win legitimized and sealed the deal for both parties.
“I was fooled but I’m sorry about it,” Mendoza told Pacquiao as the two exchanged pleasantries. “But anyways, I have to do it personally Manny coz you have behaved like a real gentleman and you teach a lesson to others.”
“You’re going to be a champion for life and you know, I have a belt that’s made and it’s going to come with a resolution afterward. I hope to see you soon Manny with the belt and everything else. It’s a new one.”
Pacquiao, for his part, said Mendoza doesn’t owe him any apology since he’s just doing his job as president of the WBA, which is commemorating its centennial year.
Pacquiao, the only-eight division world boxing champion, however, hinted at his retirement and said he will be needing enough rest before making such announcements.
Nothing is cast in stone yet but the Filipino fighting senator will also make an announcement next month whether he’ll run for the highest political seat in the country come the 2022 Presidential Elections.
Aside from dominating eight boxing divisions, Pacquiao is still the oldest welterweight fighter to earn a major belt after defeating Keith Thurman in July 2019 at age 40, the oldest boxer to win the welterweight four times, and the only one to hold titles spanning four generations (90s-2020s).