News that Manny Pacquiao’s fight this weekend against Timothy Bradley would not be his last bothers me no end. And talks that Canelo Alvarez is also being considered as Pacquiao’s next opponent doesn’t make sense to me unless I want the Filipino fighter to get badly hurt in the ring.
And come to think of it – Pacquiao will surely make it to the Senate and that means he must be ready to devote much of his time to the upper chamber of Congress. Pacquiao dividing his time between the Senate and a boxing career just won’t cut it.
But when was the last time Pacquiao looked very impressive that a fight against any of the top dogs in junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight divisions was warranted? Well, from where I stand, that was on December 8, 2012 when he was knocked out by Juan Manual Marquez in the sixth round.
During their fourth fight, Pacquiao was truly in peak form and if it was Floyd Mayweather Jr. who was in front of him that night, the American would have surely suffered a bloodied face or busted lip before eking out a very close decision win. But on December 8, 2012, Pacquiao faced the Godzilla version of archrival Marquez who managed to land a very powerful and precise right cross on the head of the Filipino just as he was lunging forward.
Just closely watch the reels of Pacquiao-Marquez 4 and you will marvel at how well conditioned both fighters were for the historic bout.
But I actually find it hard to understand as to why there are boxing fans and quarters who still believe the Pacquiao they saw after December 2012 is the same one they saw during the Filipino’s impressive run from defeating a weight-drained Oscar Dela Hoya on December 6, 2008. Was decking several times a weight-drained junior welterweight in Chris Algieri on November 22, 2014 enough to convince fight fans and some boxing quarters that Pacquiao still has what it takes to deck it out with the young guns in boxing’s middle divisions?
At this point, there is an ongoing changing of the guard in the middle divisions of boxing and Mayweather, also known to be a wise businessman, made the right decision to retire before the likes of Keith Thurman, Kell Brook, Terence Crawford, Danny Garcia and even Alvarez (who Mayweather decisioned on September 14, 2013) successfully get him into the ring (by hook or by crook).
I’m not saying Pacquiao will get massacred or easily clobbered by the likes of Thurman, Brook, Crawford, Garcia or Alvarez – it’s just that I do not want to see Pacquiao retiring only after sustaining successive losses. Anybody who believes Pacquiao can beat Alvarez may be daydreaming.
I have written in my past columns several times that I do not want to see Pacquiao becoming a doormat or stepping stone for any of the future superstars of the sport. And boxing history is rife with future Hall-of-Famers becoming stepping stones for the next batch of future Hall-of-Famers once members of the former group are not in their peak anymore. That seems to be the natural order of things in boxing and for most sports.
“Changing of the guard” is actually a kind way of saying to a former top dog in the sport that “your time is up.” That is cruel reality in the boxing world. Many former top boxers find it the hard way that their time is up, particularly only after absorbing losses toward the end of their careers. Some even suffer humiliating losses. There are very few exceptions like Mayweather, Rocky Marciano, Vitali Klitschko, just to name a few (there are very few of them, anyway).
If Pacquiao wins impressively this coming weekend or by stoppage, then let that be an exclamation point to end his brilliant ring career.