What’s next for Manny Pacquiao?
By: Matthew N. Becher
On April 9th, live from the MGM Grand Arena, one of boxing’s best is set to enter the ring for the final time in what would be a Hall of Fame caliber career. Manny Pacquiao, the “Pride of the Philippines” has announced that his rubber match against Timothy Bradley would be his farewell fight. He would look to end the debate of who is the better fighter, and Pacquiao would, for one last time, entertain the crowds that flock towards Vegas and watch on pay per view around the world. The only real question is, what’s really next for Manny Pacquiao?
Manny Pacquiao has an established career. His legacy is stellar to say the least. He is the only eight division world champion. He was named the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s. He has been named Ring Magazine “Fighter of the Year” three times and he has been part of some of the best fights of his era, along with the highest revenue generating sporting event of all time, in Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.
Pacquiao is also an elected official in his home country, and has been for 6 years. The reason for this said “retirement” from boxing, is to focus more on his congressional duties. He is also seeking election next month in his native Philippines for a senatorial seat. This also coincides with his part time gig as a head basketball coach in the Philippine Basketball league (which he is also a player for), his occasional acting, singing and preaching careers.
The closer though that we get to the fight it seems that things have been changing. The fight, which was being sold as Pacquiao’s last, has now seen him, his promoter and even his long time trainer Freddy Roach, all hint to Pacquiao continuing in the sport after this. Could it be to drum up some publicity? This fight has not been a hot topic in the sports community, definitely not in comparison to the Pacquiao fights of years ago. Ticket sales seem to be low, as well as the overall turn out in Vegas that a Pacquiao fight used to produce. Could Manny believe that his legacy has taken a hit and he needs a bigger name than Bradley to go out on?
Manny was quoted 6 days ago on a video by FightHype.com saying “My natural weight, if you ask me, I can still make 135…natural weight is 140, 141, like that, with no diet”. Could Pacquiao be looking to drop divisions and possibly fight some younger stars? Maybe, but then both Bob Arum and Freddy Roach said they would like to see Manny against Canelo Alvarez, the middleweight champion of the world, who consistently rehydrates to 170+ during fights. Is this just another way to promote this lackluster April 9th fight? Or are they serious?
Another avenue that has been mentioned is the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. With Aiba (amateur international boxing association) toying with the idea of allowing professional boxers to represent their home countries (similar to when basketball and hockey began letting professionals play) Manny has been very active on the subject, “I’m not saying I’m going to fight or saying I’m not….I’m not closing the door. I’m thinking about it”. His trainer Freddie Roach was even asked if he would train him, if he decided to pursue the Olympics.
This all seems like a lot of “ifs” for a man that set a date and fight for his retirement a few months ago. Again, Manny seems to be surrounded by distractions and not on the one thing he should be completely focused on, fighting Timothy Bradley this Saturday. We have seen this happen before with catastrophic results (The 4th fight with Juan Manuel Marquez). This could very well be Manny Pacquiao’s last time in a professional boxing match, and we are excited to see him do what he does against Bradley. If it isn’t, well, we won’t be surprised.