By: William Holmes
What do you a call a man with an entire country behind him? Manny Pacquiao.
They had to have known that it was a possibility. Marquez had stunned Pacquiao multiple times in previous matchups, but somehow, someway, Pacquiao was able to stay on his feet.
But the reality had set in during round three when Pacquiao crumbled to the mat from that powerful overhand right of Marquez. At that moment, the aura of invincibility that Pacquiao had built up over the years had disappeared.
He didn’t go down without a fight. He came roaring back in the fifth round and bloodied the nose of his rival. He was controlling the sixth until the punch heard around the world landed.
The Filipino deity was out knocked out cold and laid motionless on the floor.
Sunday morning felt differently for Filipino’s worldwide. It is well known that the Philippines is a country that is ravaged by poverty. It has borne the brunt of devastating typhoons. Many Filipinos leave the country to work elsewhere and send their earnings back to their families on the islands. You’ll find them working throughout the world, in a variety of places such as Dubai, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, and the United States.
To them, Manny Pacquiao was much more than just a boxer. He was their most proud son, a symbol of hope. His inspirational rise from poverty to international superstar made Pacquiao the only Filipino that is recognized worldwide.
Filipinos worldwide woke up today, on the most pious day of the week, still in a state of disbelief after watching their hero get brutally stopped.
They can only ask, now what?
If Pacquiao Retires
Despite the defeat, Pacquiao’s legacy is safe. The detractors will do their best to diminish his accomplishments but even they cannot argue with the obvious.
Pacquiao is one of the most exciting boxers to ever fight inside the ring. His whirlwind style, ferocious tenacity, and apparent humility outside the ring helped keep the sport of boxing relevant in the United States.
If he chooses to stop fighting he will certainly be inducted into the boxing hall of fame. But Pacquiao has the opportunity to be something much more than a boxer, and he’s in the perfect position to do so.
He’s a congressman, and is certainly in a much better position to help improve the quality of life of the people in his country as a politician than as a professional boxer. He’s often talked about his desire to help Filipinos, and perhaps it’s time for him to put his full focus into the political arena and leave boxing by the wayside.
A fight with Mayweather will now likely never happen. A rematch with Marquez is certainly a possibility, but he will be of no use to his country if boxing makes him a walking vegetable. The risk of fighting again and severely injuring himself may be too great for a budding politician with grandiose goals to take.
Many feel Pacquiao is sincere in his quest to be an honest and effective politician. Many in the industry are actually rooting for him to be successful in a post boxing career.
Too many boxers have fought past their expiration date chasing increasingly smaller paydays while experiencing increasingly significant damage.
Pacquiao can prove there is life after boxing. But to become a successful politician that helps his country escape the ravages of third world poverty is almost impossible.
It is almost as impossible as turning from a homeless teenager in the barrio into a universally recognized legitimate World Boxing Champion.
But it’s certainly a worthy and admirable goal. It is a goal more important than avenging a knockout loss.
If He Continues to Fight
Who are we to tell Pacquiao that he has to hang up his gloves?
He’s a warrior and has battled against the critics and doubters his entire life. He’s faced every single challenge thrown in front of him his entire career and he has bounced back from previous defeats to come back stronger and better.
What makes us think this loss will make him act differently?
He was ahead on the scorecards prior to being knocked out. His patented straight left hand had found its home time and time again on the face of Marquez. We were not watching a shot fighter inside the ring on Saturday night, it’s clear that he can still defeat a lot of the top fighters in his division.
There’s the possibility of a fifth fight with Marquez. There’s the possibility of him fighting Bradley again. There were talks of him fighting the always exciting Brandon Rios.
Whoever Pacquiao fights if he decides to fight again the simple reality is that he will make an exorbitant amount of money.
But what if this loss inexplicably opened the door to a fight that boxing fans were clamoring for the past five years?
Many are now writing off the possibility of the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather superfight. Money seemed to have been the only thing keeping the fighters from meeting inside the ring. The drug testing was allegedly agreed to. Pacquiao had even said he’d be willing to take less than a 50/50 split.
But now when Mayweather looks across the boxing landscape he will not see a lot of financially worthwhile opponents. Guerrero is a good boxer coming off an impressive victory against Berto, but the public is not clamoring for that fight.
Canelo Alvarez is someone that many want to see Mayweather face. He has the Mexican fan base that will help drive up the purse. But he’s a very dangerous opponent just entering his prime, and it may be a risk that Mayweather is not yet ready to take.
If Mayweather was afraid to fight Pacquiao before that fear has surely been vanquished. Marquez proved a strong counter puncher can defeat Pacquiao and knock him out.
Pacquiao is still the most financially attractive opponent for Mayweather. Mayweather has all the leverage to bargain with Pacquiao and his team.
Pacquiao may want to continue fighting, but he must surely be aware that he cannot fight much longer. Now may be the perfect time to make the fight with Mayweather and take whatever purse he can get.
If Pacquiao wants to continue fighting to enhance his boxing legacy, he might as well go for the fight he’s been chasing his entire life even if it means taking a low ball offer.
At the very least Pacquiao has inspired Filipinos worldwide to take up the sport of boxing. Filipino’s went 0-3 on Saturday’s card, but they can take solace in the fact that their hero was one of the most exciting boxers to ever step inside the ring.
Nonito Donaire fights next Saturday.