GENERAL SANTOS: A two-year break from boxing has left Philippine legend Manny Pacquiao “hungry” to get back in the ring for what could be the last fight of his storied career –– and a warm-up for a presidential rumble. The eight-division world champion and beloved national hero will have tens of millions of fans from the boxing-mad archipelago in his corner when he faces American Errol Spence in Las Vegas on August 21. Pacquiao’s comeback fight is a chance to prove his mettle at 42 –– an age when most boxers have already hung up their gloves –– and score a lucrative payday before a widely expected tilt at the presidency next year. “I’m a politician, all politicians are dreaming for the higher position,” the elected senator told media in his southern hometown of General Santos, where he is training. “I’m going to announce (my decision) in the proper time, maybe after the fight.” Pacquiao’s star power in a country famed for its celebrity-obsessed politics would put him in a strong position in the presidential race. But it would not guarantee victory. A public skirmish between Pacquiao and President Rodrigo Duterte over the latter’s handling of the South China Sea dispute with Beijing and official graft could erode support for the boxer. Duterte –– who is allowed to serve only one term as president –– rivals Pacquiao for the affections of many Filipinos and has even flagged a possible run for the vice presidency in 2022. Until recently, Pacquiao was a high-profile backer of Duterte and his controversial drug war, which International Criminal Court prosecutors want to investigate for the alleged unlawful killing of possibly tens of thousands of people. Pacquiao told media he would continue the crackdown, but in a “proper way” that does not abuse “the rights of individuals”. Asked if he would protect the current president from criminal charges if he became leader, he said: “All of us are bound to the law.” Pacquiao would face a formidable opponent if Duterte’s daughter, Sara, were to run for the top job. Decisions on whether to retire after the Spence fight or run for the highest office are in God’s hands, according to Pacquiao, a father of five. Religion looms large in the life of the boxer, who became a devout evangelical Christian about a decade ago after giving up his playboy lifestyle.