It wasn’t an official victory that will count on his boxing record, but living legend Manny Pacquiao picked up a victory of sorts last night in South Korea, as he had his hand raised and was announced as the winner after the completion of his six round (two minutes per session) exhibition bout with martial arts You Tuber DK Yoo. Yoo, who surprised many by going the distance with Pac Man, also had his hand raised.
43 year old Pacquiao, the same age as Yoo, came in a little above the middleweight limit, while his opponent was a little below the light-heavyweight limit. Manny, at times opening up, at other times pulling his punches or not throwing any at all, was in complete control, and the all-time great dropped Yoo, in the 4th and sixth rounds. Yoo, a southpaw like Pacquiao, was given plenty of opportunity to last the distance by the referee.
The atmosphere inside the arena was lacking, certainly no comparison to the great days and nights when Pacquiao was engaging in his many Super Fights. Indeed, some publications have referred to Pacquiao’s gig with Yoo as a flop, with fans “staying away.”
On the plus side, Manny looked fast (it’s possible Pacquiao will still have fast hands when he’s turned 65!), he earned some money that he will hand over to a worthy cause, and, above all, Yoo was not badly hurt. It was something of a fun event and nothing more. However, there could be more to come from Pacquiao – worryingly so.
Prior to the Yoo affair, Pacquiao spoke about the possibility of returning to the ring for a real fight, one against either Terence Crawford or Errol Spence. In speaking with Lance Pugmire, Pacquiao spoke about “testing” Crawford and/or Spence. There is, too, talk of a possible return fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather; with Manny saying he would like a real fight with Mayweather, not an exhibition.
Pacquiao retired after his August 2021 decision loss to Yordenis Ugas and maybe, if Manny had been successful in his bid for the presidency of his country, the ring retirement would have stuck. But Pacquiao’s bid proved unsuccessful and here he is back in the boxing ring. Sort of. Whether a genuine ring return follows we must wait and see. But as has been pointed out by many, Manny has nothing at all left to prove as far as boxing goes.