Will Pacquiao ever retire?
By Al S. Mendoza
HAS Manny Pacquiao retired—finally?
Not at all, I tell you.
“I miss boxing,” Pacquiao was quoted this week as saying by a global news agency. “I want to fight again.”
He broke his silence after months of boxing inactivity.
When he came back from Australia, he vowed to devote his time to his duties as senator of the republic.
He never missed a single Senate session in 2017—perhaps by way of trying to forget his misadventure Down Under.
And what was that misadventure again?
He dropped a controversial points loss to the unheralded Jeff Horn in that now infamous “Battle in Brisbane.”
That ego-shattering setback saw Horn virtually dominate Pacquiao from beginning to end.
Bizarrely, it was only in Round 9 that Pacquiao had clearly won a round in the championship welterweight bout scheduled for 12 rounds.
But shockingly, Pacquiao failed to put away Horn even in Round 9 after he had stunned the Aussie with an axe-like shot to the face.
The reason was obvious: Pacquiao’s age showed in that round, slowing him down if not weakening his punching power while unleashing a barrage of follow-up punches.
His old, sturdy knees weren’t also there anymore.
At 38, Pacquiao’s aggressiveness seemed to have vanished completely against Horn, leading to his seventh defeat in 68 fights.
He turned 39 last December 17, celebrating his birthday with his usual generosity of spreading gifts to his constituents in GenSan and Sarangani.
But barely a monthly later, Pacquiao announced he wanted to fight Vasyl Lomachenko, the budding super featherweight with a 10-1, win-loss record.
Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s American promoter, describes Lomachenko as “the hardest puncher I’ve ever had [in my stable]. Pacquiao is not simply dealing with a regular fighter in Lomachenko. Lomachenko is a scientist.”
At 29, Lomachenko has yet to reach his peak form.
At that age, Pacquiao had already achieved boxing greatness, acclaimed as the best of his era and the pound for pound king in the world.
But look at this: All of Lomachenko’s 10 victories were by knockout.
He could be a project in the making and a force to reckon with as well.
In Pacquiao’s estimation, he’d be ready to fight Lomachenko in either April or May.
From being a 147-lb welterweight, Pacquiao said he’d agree to a catch-weight bout if only to clinch a fight against Lomachenko, whose fighting weight now is 137 lb.
As I keep saying, nothing is impossible in boxing.
In this match-up if ever it materializes, we see an old warrior in Pacquiao facing a fighter chasing stardom.
A Pacquiao win could crush a dream and restore dignity to his fast-sagging lofty stature.
But a loss would catapult the kid’s star into orbit and, for Pacquiao, it might forever scar what was once a sterling reputation earned through decades of painstaking hard work.
And so, I ask again: When will Pacquiao ever retire?
Nobody’s forever, you know.
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