Manny Pacquiao’s decision to retire after fighting Timothy Bradley for a third time is among the most intelligent decisions the Filipino has ever made in his fighting career.
Knocking down Bradley twice could have prompted Pacquiao to fight one more time if he followed his ego. But he listened more to his body that obviously is no longer in its prime.
Looking back at their third fight over the weekend, it was obvious Bradley was never an elite-level fighter and Pacquiao was no longer the force he was before getting knocked out by archrival Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012.
By retiring, Pacquiao becomes one of the very few future Hall of Famers in boxing to finish their careers with a good note. And truth is, very few elite-level fighters manage to finish their career with a good or resounding note.
It would have been more exciting if Pacquiao decisioned or stopped any of the young promising fighters like Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Kell Brook, Terence Crawford or even Canelo Alvarez. But that would be asking too much from Pacquiao.
From where I stand, Pacquiao has done enough for his career and the sport as a whole.
But looking at his recent performance against Bradley, it is obvious the Pacquiao that once terrorized the ring is no longer there. While the two knockdowns are worthy of attention, they pale in comparison to the one he dealt against Marquez in their fourth fight. Simply stated, Pacquiao no longer has the thunder that made him one of the elite fighters in his prime. So I believe that putting Pacquiao in the ring against the likes of Thurman, Garcia, Brook. Crawford, Alvarez or even Marcos Maidana and Adrian Broner would be somewhat suicidal for him. Why? All these guys can punch harder than Bradley and have more sturdy chins.
But you would actually admire how most of the young fighters in the junior welterweight to junior middleweight divisions have chosen not to call out Pacquiao. In contrast, there are a good number of young fighters who continually call out Mayweather.
Broner recently called out Mayweather for a fight after he stopped Ashley Theophane, a boxer the undefeated American promotes.
So that still means Pacquiao may be more respected by the younger fighters in boxing’s middle divisions compared to Mayweather. Pacquiao is actually a very good “stepping stone” for any of the young fighters I just mentioned but it looks like most of them are more interested in fighting Mayweather.
And if Mayweather gets out of retirement and succeeds in beating any of the younger fighters who calls him out, I just hope Pacquiao won’t think of staging a comeback to take on the undefeated American for a second time.
From what I saw in his fourth fight against Bradley, Pacquiao will find still find it hard to beat Mayweather in a rematch.
While I complained Mayweather fought a faded fighter in Andre Berto for his farewell fight, a review of the fight clearly showed Berto was the better fighter on fight night than Bradley over the weekend. And when Mayweather faced Berto, the undefeated American still had that snap and speed in his hands that has served him well in retaining his undefeated record.
Perhaps I denigrated Berto too much before he faced Mayweather or believed Bradley would be a better fighter under his new trainer Teddy Atlas, whose credentials can never be discounted.
Nonetheless, Pacquiao capitalized on the chance to end his career with a positive note. And I hope he stays retired for good.