By Sean Crose
According to ESPN, promoter Bob Arum has made it clear that April 9th will be the day that the legendary Manny Pacquiao will engage in his last professional boxing match. “Manny,” Arum is quoted as saying, “told me this fight on April 9 will be his last fight.” This, of course, contradicts what Arum said not too long ago. Indeed, as recently as September 25, I wrote in an article that Manny was “reportedly in no hurry to retire.” That assertion was based on Arum’s own words.
“I thought maybe Manny would fight one or two more times,” Arum, was quoted as saying by ESPN at the time, “and when I said that, Manny corrected me. He said he wants to keep fighting.” Funny how things can change in the course of a month.
It’s good to keep in mind that this is boxing we’re talking about here, a sport where all sorts of things are said and promised, only to amount to nothing a short time later. Talk may be cheap out in the real world, but in boxing it’s dirt cheap. Here is a sport where virtually everything that’s said has to be taken with a grain of salt.
Still, it’s worth noting that Pacquiao’s reported reasoning for ending his career in April is rather sound. The man wants to run for the Filipino Senate, after all (he’s already been elected to congress) and if Pacquiao wins that position, he feels the job will require his absolute full attention from there on in. Just learning where Pacquiao’s mind is at this point suggests he may want to hang up the gloves sooner rather than later.
For boxing is a sport that requires one’s full attention and dedication, no matter how talented and accomplished one might be. If Pacqiuao can no longer summon the kind of focus showed by the likes of Terrence Crawford it may be best that he leave the sweet science behind. It’s not like he has anything left to prove, after all. Besides, he’s already taken a whole lot of punishment (most recently, and famously, from Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012).
None of this is to say Pacquiao can’t continue on and become an aging icon along the likes of a Bernard Hopkins. This simply isn’t a fighter one can underestimate. If he chooses to keep going in the ring, though, Pacquiao may want to cut himself loose of anything that might be considered a profound distraction. Boxing is nothing if not dangerous.
So what will Pacquiao do? Truth is, no one knows. Arum may not have been telling the truth – even if he thought he was. As has been stated, words alone don’t count for much in contemporary boxing. If Arum’s words prove to be true, however, Pacquiao may well find himself in the ring with Crawford in the spring. Hey, at least the man won’t be taking the easy way out.