Team Lakay's Edward Kelly said Manny Pacquiao would always be his sporting hero and that he holds him in the highest regard.
“Personally, he has inspired me a lot, not just because he is a tremendously talented boxer, because he is. But also because, to me, he’s a hero," said the ONE featherweight contender.
"He came from literally nothing in life to make it to the pinnacle of boxing -- the absolute highest levels. It’s such an inspiring story. He proved that there is no dream we can’t achieve if we pour ourselves into it.”
Boxing coach Freddie Roach said Pacquiao most likely will not fight in 2020, but that a ring return next year is more probable.
Pacquiao was last seen in the ring in July 2019, when he won the WBA "super" welterweight from the previously unbeaten Keith Thurman by split decision.
Following that fight, names rumored to be in the Pacquiao sweepstakes include former world champions Danny Garcia and Amir Khan, and former sparring partner Shawn Porter, in addition to marquee talent Errol Spence Jr., and pound-for-pound best Terence Crawford.
If it were up Kelly, however, he would rather have his childhood hero ride off into the sunset.
“I think retirement may be on the table for Manny. He’s already done everything he could in the ring. He was the greatest at his peak. There are a lot of young, hungry fighters coming up, and boxing is a young man’s game. There’s nothing left to prove,” said Kelly.
While Kelly is confident Pacquiao can continue to perform at a high level against the rising young stars of boxing, he believed it will only end badly for the Filipino legend, win or lose.
“I totally understand why he continues to fight, and he’s just an even bigger hero for continuing to carry Philippine boxing on the global stage. But if he wins, critics will say he’s just fighting for the money. If he loses, they will say he’s already old,” Kelly said.