Should Manny Pacquiao hang up the gloves for good?
By Hector Franco
Last Saturday night we may have seen the end of Manny Pacquiao’s boxing career. It was a career that has spanned 21 years and championships in eight different weight classes. Pacquiao in his third bout with Timothy Bradley put on one of his better performances in recent years. It left people wondering if in fact this would be the Filipino’s last fight after such a performance and so many other bouts available to him. Pacquiao at this point only fights for money and legacy. His legacy is already set. The money, however, is a different situation.
When it was announced that Manny Pacquiao would be facing Timothy Bradley in a rubber match, most fans and critics panned it. It turns out that in the long run the match up and victory would be beneficial to Pacquiao’s legacy. The two other matchups that would add the most to Pacquiao's legacy would be fights with Floyd Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez has stated numerous times that he is satisfied with how their fourth bout ended and would not grant Pacquiao a rematch. Mayweather announced his retirement last September and the likelihood of a rematch at times seems imminent, but for a bout in April it was impossible. With Mayweather and Marquez out of the picture, fans wanted Pacquiao to turn to rising star, Terence Crawford. While the Crawford fight would have presented a fresh match up for boxing fans in a sort of passing of the torch event, it would have left a gap in Pacquiao’s legacy.
Most fans have Pacquiao winning the first two fights with Timothy Bradley clearly. Officially, however, they were 1-1 before last Saturday’s fight. When the biography of Pacquiao’s career is written or when fans look back 20 to 30 years from now there will be a portion written about Timothy Bradley. Pacquiao chose Bradley for his last opponent to go out as the clear winner of their series of fights. It may not be popular today, but it will prove to be important when looking back at Pacquiao’s legacy. It would be a perfect way to leave the sport. It was a bout that had flashes of the old Manny Pacquiao that fans loved and it showed that he was getting older. There aren’t many happy endings for boxers; Pacquiao has a chance to leave on a good note.
Fighters like Lennox Lewis and Joe Calzaghe are too few and far in between. These fighters left the sport with fans wanting more while also on top. A fighter like Pacquiao who has already been knocked out and participated in many wars, will eventually end up getting hurt if he continues his career for too long.
There have even been rumors of a potential match up with WBC middleweight champion, Canelo Alvarez. A Pacquiao-Alvarez bout would be a huge event. It would be the final matchup between this era’s four biggest cash cows, Mayweather-Pacquiao-Cotto-Canelo. The fight would be a win-win for Pacquiao as a loss wouldn’t hurt his legacy and a win would earn him a possible championship in his 9th division. This doesn’t mean the bout should take place. Pacquiao doesn’t need the bout. Fans should be satisfied with Pacquiao’s last performance against Bradley to leave the sport. It would be a shame to see him knocked unconscious and beat up similar to how Joe Louis was after facing Rocky Marciano way past his prime.
So should Manny Pacquiao retire? Yes he should. Five years from now he will get his induction into the hall of fame as one of the greatest fighters of all time. And as a great man once said, “fighters don’t get rolex’s as a retirement gift, they get beatings”. Let’s hope Pacquiao goes for the rolex.
featured photo: AP/Isaac Brekken