Manny Pacquiao: good enough to compete, but should now retire
After watching his performance last Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao should probably retire.
Make no mistake, Timothy Bradley officially and rightly lost by unanimous decision. But the real loser that night, however, was Juan Manuel Marquez.
His emphatic 2012 victory over Pacquiao was dampened by a subsequent loss to Bradley. And now Pacquiao’s convincing win over Bradley has put the final nail in the coffin for him. Why couldn’t he just retire after knocking Pacquiao out? From being on top of the world, he now sees himself sliding down the ladder of relevance.
Now, in the aftermath of his latest victory, Manny Pacquiao now finds himself at a similar crossroad. No doubt, he gave a career-resurrecting performance, with a legitimate, credible win over a previously undefeated Tim Bradley. The question the people are now asking is; who next? Floyd? Marquez V?
However, the real question should be; “what” next? Manny indicated at the post-fight press conference that he can continue for another two years. Even the pre-fight rhetoric was of him proving that he still has the desire to box. But how long can he really expect to continue that?
At his age, and at this stage of his career, the desire to fight and, to some degree, the prize money should both come secondary to legacy. Nine-time world champion and millions of dollars accumulated (mind the tax issues); Pacquiao has little left to prove to anybody. One day soon he really will be too old, the desire definitely won’t be there, and the money will one day dry up. But his legacy is what will remain forever.
Therefore, unless he can secure a fight with Floyd Mayweather, now would be the perfect time for him to walk away from the sport. No other fighter is worth the risk to his career.
Floyd himself came out of retirement in 2009 to stay relevant when everyone at the time was watching Manny Pacquiao starry-eyed. In my opinion, after Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd should have fought (and beaten) Manny Pacquiao then retired permanently. In all fairness to him, however, he has looked rather invincible after making his comeback. But since then what has he really proved to us that we didn’t already know before?
Why exactly a Pacquiao – Mayweather fight has not occurred is still one of life’s mysteries. This question has been asked for the past five years. Half a decade involving law suits, countless negotiations, have all proved futile. The elephant in the room now is that both are older and running out of opponents to face.
It’s reported that Freddie Roach himself has mixed emotions about the performance of his charge last Saturday night, despite his winning the fight. The obvious was that he looked slower and threw significantly fewer punches. However, one could argue that he fought a very calculated and economical fight, allowing him to finish the fight strongly with fuel still left in the tank.
There is also talk of his lack of head movement and inability to cut the ring off. But when has he ever been good at those? In which of his previous fights did he even remotely display having those skills? Pacquiao has always used the straight left hand, angles, and exemplary footwork to get to the position he’s in. He used those same skills to victory last Saturday. He’s still got it.
Whichever way you chose to view his performance, Pacquiao now finds himself in a very commanding position – answering his doubters by beating a rising star and catapulting himself back into the mix of things. This is same kind of feat Bernard Hopkins achieved by beating Jean Pascal, George Foreman beating Michael Moorer, and Floyd Mayweather beating Saul Alvarez.
In all professional sports the best need to compete with the best. In his post-fight interview Manny said that he can continue for another two years and that he proved to the people that he has “still got it”. But if he can’t fight the best, then what’s the point in even continuing to box? The fight with Floyd must happen.
Lennox Lewis showed a great deal of courage and intelligence by deciding to retire after beating Vitali Klitschko. To a certain extent this is also true of Joe Calzaghe – why risk your legacy on future fights that simply don’t matter, that don’t contribute to the defining of your career?
Manny Pacquiao proved that he can still perform at the highest level in the sport. But unless he can secure a fight with Floyd Mayweather then now would be the perfect time for him to retire.