MANILA (AFP) – Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said Thursday he was still “hungry” to fight, despite a dalliance with professional basketball that has had his team worried sick.
The 35-year-old, who has world titles in eight weight divisions under his belt, made a lacklustre pro ball debut on Sunday, a month before his World Boxing Organisation title defence against undefeated American Chris Algieri in Macau.
“I’m still hungry and I’m doing what I did before,” the Filipino said in a teleconference call with the press from his training camp in the southern Philippine city of General Santos.
“What we’re doing right now is to get back the hungriness and the focus and the killer instinct that the people want.”
Pacquiao said basketball, the number one sport in the Philippines, was his other love – but that he is fully focused on boxing at the moment.
“Basketball is also good to have, you know, footwork and balancing. It helps a lot,” he said, describing it as his “cross-training” activity.
His US promoter Bob Arum said he had got wind of Pacquiao’s plans to play in the professional Philippine Basketball Association beforehand and admitted: “I wasn’t very happy.”