The end isn’t going to be pretty for Manny Pacquiao.
The legendary former world champion and current senator in the Philippines was a shell of himself in a July 1 loss to Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia. The consensus of more than a dozen boxing people Yahoo Sports spoke to is that, at best, Pacquiao has one more fight left in him but more likely should retire immediately.
Pacquiao, though, announced on Twitter that he plans to continue to box despite how poor he looked in his controversial loss to Horn.
I love this sport and until the passion is gone, I will continue to fight for God, my family, my fans and my country. pic.twitter.com/mcfegAOSIi
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) July 12, 2017
There is a lot of back-stabbing and wheeling and dealing going on behind the scenes among Pacquiao’s inner circle – or those who like to believe they’re in his inner circle – in the Philippines. Most are motivated by self interest, of course, and don’t have Pacquiao’s best interests at heart.
A few days ago, Pacquiao posted a video of himself giving out money to children in his homeland, and wrote on Twitter, “This is why I still fight.” Pacquiao is as selfless as anyone you’ll meet, truly loves his countrymen and is willing to do just about anything to aid them.
This is why I still fight. https://t.co/w5K3ABw3kj
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) July 7, 2017
The problem with that scene is, he’ll render himself incapable of helping if he continues to box much longer. It’s almost certain he’s going to do a rematch with Horn, who is in Los Angeles making the media rounds in a bid to hype a potential rematch.
Trainer Freddie Roach told Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated he hasn’t been paid yet. Pacquiao responded that it was supposed to be a purse deduction and that he hasn’t been paid yet, either. There seems to be a general disarray in his camp that extends beyond the humorous but harmless things that occurred in the past.
And if he fights to avenge a loss or to recoup his pride or for the noble cause of earning money to continue to build homes for the poor, schools for the young and much-needed hospitals, he’s risking his health and making himself incapable of doing those things.
He’s 38 and will be 39 in December. He’s not the explosive, lightning-quick guy he once was. He’s a plodder without much hand speed, a guy with so many divided interests he can’t focus fully on preparing himself to box at the highest level.
As the great ex-world champion James Toney often said, you play basketball, you play baseball, but you don’t play boxing.
Pacquiao should retire with his health and his wealth, and use his platform to advocate for his people.
He’s come to the end of the line as a fighter, and it’s going to get worse each time out. He’s a smart man, but he’s overlooking the obvious.
Passion for boxing or not, it’s time for Manny Pacquiao to walk away, for his own good and for the good of the countrymen he so desperately wants to aid.
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