I said it first in 2017: Time to retire for Manny Pacquiao.
That was after Pacquiao lost to Jeff Horn, an Australian who was as unknown as the last passenger to board the Titanic.
The inexperienced Horn, with only 16 fights across his name, scored a stunning unanimous decision victory over Pacquiao on July 2, 2017 for the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown.
Even the hometown crowd of 51,052 at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, could hardly believe that all three judges saw Horn the winner by 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113.
But Horn did win, repeatedly crowding Pacquiao with constant hard blows as the Filipino icon was fast showing signs of reflexes slowly being dulled by time.
Pacquiao was then five months away from turning 39, the same age when Muhammad Ali retired after yielding a 10-round decision to Trevor Berbick in Nassau, Bahamas, in his last fight on Dec. 11, 1981.
Ali, boxing’s undisputed GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), would contract Parkinson’s Disease not long after. He died on June 3, 2016, compiling 56 wins against 5 losses, with 37 knockouts.
With his sub-par performance leading to a unanimous decision loss to Yordenis Ugas on Aug. 22, Pacquiao should heed the handwriting on the wall: Retire.
Don’t be stubborn, Manny.
The 20,000 pro-Pacquiao fans shouting “Manny! Manny! Manny!” as you strode out of T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, was not only meant to exult you. It was also a veiled message that, yes, you’ve done more than enough to make you a boxing living legend. Your legacy is as secure as Mother Teresa’s place in heaven.
You will turn 43 in barely four months. That’s too old for a sport where the 35-and-above are considered bound for pastureland.
Do you want the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) to revoke your license, the way it did, reportedly, to the legendary Flash Elorde?
After Elorde lost to unknown Hiroyuki Murakami by unanimous decision on May 20, 1971, the GAB, citing health safety, canceled Elorde’s license—a cruel, but apt closure to a legend’s journey of 118 fights (89-27-2, win-loss-draw, 33 KOs) lasting 19 years. Elorde was 37. He died of lung cancer in 1985 at age 49.
So, man up, Manny. Call it a day. Now.