Throughout the long history of the sport of boxing, it has, as fans know, proven very difficult for even the greatest of fighters to go out a winner. For whatever reason or reasons (a need of money, ego, a love of the limelight, simply not knowing what else to do), fighters have consistently rolled the dice that one (or more) time too many.
It’s a long list of bad endings, of sad exits from the sport. Muhammad Ali pushed his luck and went out on the back of two sad-to-watch losses. So did Sugar Ray Leonard, and the original Sugar Ray, Ray Robinson, looked a shell of his former greatness in his final bout. George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier, Joe Louis, Wladimir Klitschko, they all went out on a loss. Sure, there have been exceptions – Vitali Klitschko went out a winner, as did Thomas Hearns, and of course, the one and only Rocky Marciano went out with a perfect, unbeaten record.
But the happy endings are too few and far between. This brings us to superstar and living legend Manny Pacquiao. Will Pacquiao, after over 25 long years in the ring, win tonight, and will tonight’s fight be his last fight? Pacquiao, a true one-off, does not look like an old and badly faded former king of the ring the way so many of the greats from yesteryear did when they were having their battle with Father Time. In fact, has there ever been a 42-year-old boxer in better physical condition than Manny Pac Man Pacquiao?
Bernard Hopkins maybe, or Archie Moore. But those two crafty boxing masters fought at a conservative rate, whereas Manny is still a whirlwind capable of pumping out a ton of leather over the course of 12 rounds of action. Or at least he used to be. Has Pacquiao still got it? We’ll get our answer tonight in Las Vegas; Vegas being a fight town that has seen more than enough triumph and tragedy over the decades.
If Pacquiao gets the win tonight (and most experts feel he will emerge victorious for an incredible 63rd time) and if he looks and feels good (or great) in doing so, that dice could be rolled again, either later this year, or more likely next year. This is the powerful drug boxing has. Lennox Lewis (one of the rare few who managed to go out with a win; just) once said that boxing was ‘like a drug,’ in that it ‘keeps pulling you back.’
Can Manny Pacquiao win tonight and then resist the seemingly irresistible temptation?
Prediction: Pacquiao will get the win tonight, this by fairly comfortable decision. But as to what the all-time great will do then, who can possibly say?