Currently, he is on the mend from having rotator cuff surgery. The last time we saw Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao 57-6-2 (38) he was sharing a ring with Floyd Mayweather in the richest fight in boxing history.
Last week Pacquiao announced he would likely retire next year after one last fight to focus on a career in politics, hopefully as a senator.
“I think I’m ready (to retire). I’ve been in boxing for more than 20 years,” Pacquiao, 36, said in an interview on local ABS-CBN television network.
A congressman since 2010, he’s looking to bid for a Senate seat in the national elections in May of next year.
Manny Pacquiao turned pro when he was 16 years old and will turn 37 in two months. It can be said with impunity that he’s had a stellar career and is no doubt a first ballot hall of famer the moment the bell rings ending the last round of his final career bout.
Yes, he lost the biggest and highest profile bout of his career to Mayweather, but so did Muhammad Ali to “Smokin” Joe Frazier, and it didn’t hurt Ali’s legacy one iota. The difference there being Ali got two more shots at Joe and beat him both times. Manny won’t get two more shots at Floyd, however I think it’s possible he may get one more. Although in fairness, it’s probably better that Manny never fights Mayweather in a rematch because he’ll lose again. It may be a little closer, but the reality is, Floyd owns the style match-up. He’s too big and he also has retained his physical skill set better. In other words, Floyd has more left in the tank than Manny does physically in spite of the fact that he’s nearly two years older.
Because of their six year rivalry, Pacquiao and Mayweather seemed to be joined at the hip, but they’re really not. Remember, Mayweather needed to meet and beat Pacquiao to solidify his legacy much more than the reverse. Regardless of what Mayweather’s posse and fanboys may try and push, Floyd is still thought of as a guy who gamed the system and chose most of his high profile opponents when the timing best suited him. That cannot be said about Pacquiao. Floyd’s legacy is beating a fighter who won his first title as a flyweight, thus fighting him as a welterweight.
Pacquiao’s legacy was carved out in beating great HOF’ers the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera 2 out of 2, Erik Morales 2 out of 3 and Juan Manuel Marquez 2 out of 3 after fighting him to a draw the first time they met. Those three warriors were his career rivals between 126 and 130, with the exception of the final two bouts against Marquez that were contested at welterweight. Manny’s legacy is also winning a world title in eight different weight divisions. No other fighter has done that.
Of course some of those titles were manufactured and catch weight bouts, but he still beat some very good welterweights (Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Timothy Bradley and Brandon Rios) during the last five years of his career after making his debut as a flyweight. Prior to fighting as a welterweight, Pacquiao defeated David Diaz, undefeated Ricky Hatton, in addition to beating past their prime versions of Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley at 147. On the down side he did lose a disputed decision to Timothy Bradley and was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in their final fight, along with being stopped twice before fighting at 112 and 113.
Manny’s had a tremendous run. Actually, his resume is more impressive than Mayweather’s and so are his accomplishments. And if you take four of his five marquee opponents who fought Mayweather, Marquez, Hatton, De La Hoya, Cotto and Mosley, Pacquiao was much more impressive beating them. No, he’s not undefeated, but how many are who have compiled a resume as deep as his?
Manny carried most of his power with him up to junior welterweight and it didn’t level off until he got to welterweight. He was scary good on the nights that he stopped Hatton and Cotto. But that was a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Pacquiao has been on the decline since 2012. Starting then he lost a lot of his explosiveness and became very easy to hit. The work-rate also decreased and the non-stop all-out attack has diminished, as was evidenced against Chris Algieri and Mayweather in his last two bouts. Now he’s in the midst of recuperating from a serious shoulder operation. Is it even plausible to think that he can be much better than he was against Mayweather? I don’t think so. And let us not forget the devastating one-punch knockout he suffered against Marquez when they last fought. In reality Pacquiao is teetering on being damaged goods, and nobody understood that more than Mayweather did……that’s why they fought in 2015 instead of 2010.
Manny said he wants one more fight, perhaps against Amir Khan, and then he’s done. I doubt he even realizes at this time he’s no better than 50/50 against today’s elite welterweights. I’m hopeful that he picks the right opponent in his next bout and then hangs ’em up for good because there’s nothing left for him to prove. He’s done it all, and did so with class, style and excitement. No one wants to see him get beat up or punched around the ring to close out a once in a generation career. Certainly not when he can retire with his health, wealth and respect.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com