By: Sean Crose
Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez – arch foils of the great Manny Pacquiao – have announced their retirements. Good for both men. They’ve earned their keep in the sport. Sure enough, both fighters deserve Hall of Fame status upon becoming eligible for induction. As for Pacquiao (59-6-2), word is out that he aims to keep fighting – and that he plans to rematch Jeff Horn (17-0-1), which he is contractually permitted to do. Horn, for those with short memories, bested Pacquiao in highly controversial hometown fashion this past Fourth of July Weekend in Australia.
The problem for Pacquiao now may be the fact that it looks like he’ll be fighting Horn in Australia yet again. This, of course, means that the Filipino legend will probably once more find himself at the mercy of the judges. To say Pacquiao should simply knock his man out is to arguably divorce oneself from reality at this point. Pacquiao hasn’t had a knockout or stoppage in ages and he certainly didn’t seem his old self when he battled Horn this past summer. In all likelihood, a rematch will go to the scorecards, much as the first fight did. And that might not be good news for Pacquiao.
The bout will be for the WBO welterweight title which Horn lifted from Pacquiao, but it’s really for Pacquiao’s legacy, Horn’s future and for lots of money. Pacquiao isn’t the pay per view draw he used to be. Indeed, he’s not a pay per view fighter at all anymore. What the man remains, however, is a hugely popular, internationally known athlete. ESPN was rewarded for broadcasting the first Pacquiao-Horn fight with millions of viewers. No doubt the rematch, which may go down in November, will bring in some good ratings, as well.
Many believe Pacquiao has been on the downslide for years, and it’s hard to argue against that line of thought after seeing the man’s ring performance last month. The buzzing, dominating, angle maestro who threw punches in bunches with piston-like speed was nowhere to be found. Having said that, it certainly seemed like Pacquiao had done enough to win the fight after the final bell rang. Horn was tough, determined and more skilled than perhaps most people thought before the fight, but defying expectations doth not a winner make. Not in a fair world, at least. Life, however, isn’t always fair.
That’s something that’s painfully evident in the sport of boxing.
As for Pacquiao’s former foes, both Marquez and Bradley have opted to remove themselves from such ugliness. Both have earned a ton over the course of their careers. Marquez leaves the ring a legend. Bradley seems poised to perhaps become a legend as time moves on. He’s one of those fighters who looks to grow in stature as the years pass by. There are analysts who feel Pacquiao is at the point in his career where he too should hang up his gloves. A brilliant performance against Horn might change a lot of opinions, but does the man have another brilliant performance left in him?