Is this the perfect time for Manny Pacquiao to hang up his gloves?
Boxing analyst Atty. Ed Tolentino won’t be surprised if the 38-year old Filipino ring icon will go for the rematch against Jeff Horn, who was just crowned the new World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion after dethroning Pacquiao on Sunday via unanimous decision.
But can the eight-division world champion rediscover his old self and prove that he’s still relevant in today’s boxing?
“Can he (Pacquiao) commit himself totally to the sport? Pacquiao has done enough and nothing more to prove,” Tolentino told The Manila Times on Sunday at the aftermath of Horn’s controversial victory in front of his countrymen in Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
“I thought he did enough to win and it’s clear that the 38-year-old Pacquiao’s over 20 years of fighting have caught up with him,” he added.
Waleska Roldan scored 117-111 while Chris Flores and Ramon Cerdan both saw it 115-113 all in favor of Horn. The Aussie boxer got the nod of the three judges despite Pacquiao landing more power punches, 123-73, according to ESPN’s punch stats.
The fighting Senator started slow in the title match witnessed by more than 50,000 boxing fans as Horn dictated the tempo in the early rounds.
But Pacquiao recovered in the latter rounds and almost knocked out Horn in the ninth round before he was saved by the bell.
“Manny was flatfooted and couldn’t find rhythm on his punches. He was cut on both eyes. This is father time speaking,” Tolentino explained.
Pacquiao fell to 59-7-2 (win-loss-draw) while the 29-year old Horn improved to 17-0-1.
Top Rank Promotion chief Bob Arum was satisfied with the performance of the two fighters in the title bout dubbed as “Battle of Brisbane.”
“Horn fought a great fight and the judges decided in his favor. Some of the people watching thought Manny won but it was a very close fight and a good fight,” said Arum.
In Tarlac, boxing aficionados viewed the Pacquiao-Horn fight as a chance for Filipinos to take a break from all the bad news we have been getting lately especially in the light of the Marawi crisis.
Ador Tanedo, a tailor, took time out to watch the fight, hoping that it could bring peace and unity to the country, at least for the moment.
“This is a great opportunity to take a break from bad news. Once in a while we find ourselves united as Pacquiao enters the ring,” he said.
Similarly, Peter Mañalac said the fight offers another time to reflect on Filipino heroism in any situation.
“It is our nature to find ways to turn every opportunity in our favor despite any negative condition. At least even for just a short period we can forget the problems our country is confronting,” Mañalac said.
In Rizal, many fans were disappointed following Manny Pacquiao’s loss to Jeff Horn.
“It was a close fight. This is not the old Pacquiao who was fast and threw those power punches. It is time for hm to retire,” said the editor of Angono Rizal News Online.
“If you look at the stats, Manny got robbed. Stats don’t lie,” said Latrell del Rosario a student from Centro Escolar University
“Our ‘Pambansang Kamao’ has slowed down. He still shows a good form inside the ring but it is just that his opponent doesn’t play fair,” said a local government employee who asked not to be identified.
“Pacquiao only had three weeks of training. I have a feeling he was cheated. His opponent played dirty,” said a law student from the University of Santo Tomas.
In Bulacan, those who watched the sponsored telecast at the Meycauayan Convention Center expressed their disappointment at Pacquiao’s loss to Jeff Horn via a unanimous decision.
Some people felt that the Pacquiao-Horn fight will at least give people some moments of peace. “At least for a while, the Marawi rebels, and other criminals will rest just to watch the fight,” said Melchor Aquino, a security guard.
However, many innocent people are already suffering and shedding blood. “It’s about time to unite and help each other. We musn’t only unite during Pacquiao’s fight, but as well as during the national crisis we are facing today.
However, another viewer said, “It’s about time we unite and help each other. We musn’t only unite during Pacquiao’s fight, but as well as during the national crisis we are facing today.”
WITH REPORTS FROM JERRY HERNANDEZ AND GABRIELA BARON