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Time to retire?


PhilBoxing.com




The big question that faces Manny Pacquiao is whether or not to retire from the sport that has brought so much honor and glory to his country. The loss to Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas last Saturday was unexpected. Pacquiao had trained hard, maybe too hard, for the fight and at 42, his legs weren’t like they were 20 years ago when he made his US debut as a late replacement to dethrone Lehlo Ledwaba as IBF superbantamweight champion.

No doubt, it’s been a Hall of Fame career that Pacquiao has enjoyed. He turned pro in 1995 but recently said he’s actually been fighting since he was 12 in carnival bouts in General Santos City. That adds up to 30 years of boxing. In the pro ranks, he has fought 72 matches, 34 against fighters with world championship credentials. His list of victims includes Hall of Famers Oscar de la Hoya, Sugar Shane Mosley, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales.

Pacquiao’s greatest achievement was winning world titles in eight different weight divisions, something that will likely never be equaled or surpassed. He has championships in the flyweight (112), superbantamweight (122), featherweight (126), superfeatherweight (130), lightweight (135), lightwelterweight (140), welterweight (147) and superwelterweight (154) classes. If Pacquiao made stops as a superflyweight (115) and bantamweight (118), he could’ve collected titles in 10 divisions. No fighter in history has come close to ruling eight categories. Certainly not the man who claims to be the greatest of them all, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Losing to Ugas in what could be Pacquiao’s last fight leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Pacquiao deserves a grand farewell on a winning note. But then, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson lost their last fights and the bumps didn’t diminish their reputation as two of the greatest boxers ever.

Pacquiao took a bad beating from Ugas and let’s face it, if he were five years younger, he would’ve wiped out the Cuban. In 2019, Pacquiao dug deep into his well of courage and energy to defeat Keith Thurman but it was a painful victory. Against Ugas, it was more painful, not just because he lost but also because he was inflicted unnecessary punishment. Pacquiao took five stitches to sew up a cut over his left eye and his face was badly bruised. His legs stiffened as early as the second round and without his mobility, he couldn’t sustain a competitive trend especially in the last six rounds. Pacquiao’s fans all over the world never want to see their hero hurt.

“When our lives are finished inside this world, we can take nothing,” said Pacquiao. “In this sport, this is my passion. This is why I’m still here, keep on fighting at the age of 42. I’m enjoying it but sometimes you have to think about the life span of your body. I’ve done a lot for boxing and boxing has done a lot for me.” He’ll take a long rest then decide to go on fighting or hang up his gloves.

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said the decision is entirely up to Pacquiao. “That’s up to the Senator but if it was up to me, I think the guy has a tremendous amount left in the tank,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of problems. Absolutely, Father Time was in there but he fought the WBA super champion with the toughest style in the division and gave the guy everything. He just came up a little short and some people had it a draw. I’d love to see just a great farewell of a Kobe or Michael Jordan type of gala but that’s up to the Senator. I leave all those decisions to him.”

Gibbons said he’s convinced that if it were two years ago, Pacquiao would’ve beaten Ugas. “For a farewell celebration, I would suggest an easier fight,” he said. Gibbons rattled off a few names to consider in case Pacquiao decides to do one more fight, perhaps in December or January, in the Philippines, pandemic allowing, or the Middle East or the US. Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia and Amir Khan were among the names floated.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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