After decades of being a dominant force in boxing, it might be the perfect time for Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao to call it a career following a unanimous decision loss to World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas.
Some local boxing personalities feel that the 42-year-old Pacquiao has nothing to prove anymore and that it would be wise to just walk away from the sport.
Pacquiao was not as quick and as explosive as he once was, and was outboxed by the long and crafty Ugas on Aug. 22, 2021 (PH time) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“What I see is that he’s already lost some of his quickness and Ugas really fought intelligently. If it were up to me, it should be the right time for champ Manny to retire. He has already done everything in boxing. He’s also a very good person. He has nothing to prove but he still fights, even though he’s already up there in age, because he loves boxing. We will always be proud of him because of him, boxing is alive in the Philippines. He’s still our champion,” World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) No. 2 rated minimumweight Melvin Jerusalem told SunStar Cebu.
One-time world title challenger Jonas Sultan, who watched Pacquiao’s fight live at T-Mobile Arena, witnessed first hand that Pacquiao didn’t display the same amazing footwork that he was known for all of his career.
“He still is amazing. He still has his power but his in-and-out footwork is gone. His footwork isn’t the same. I’m still proud of him because he can still compete against younger boxers,” he said. “For me, he can retire already but the decision is still up to him.”
KJ Cataraja, an unbeaten up-and-comer, believes that Pacquiao isn’t the same fighter that he used to be and that fighting against the elite welterweights could be detrimental to his health.
“I think that was already it. He needs to retire, he has nothing to prove,” he said. “Ugas’ shots were very clear. He outboxed Pacquiao. His skills won him the fight. I think he can’t hang with the division’s elite anymore.”
Famed Cebuano trainer Edito “Ala” Villamor saw a bit of a decline by Pacquiao. He also thinks that the last-minute change might have caused Pacquiao the fight.
“A last-minute replacement is always dangerous. Pacquiao had a difficult time adjusting to Ugas’ jab. The whole duration of training camp he was sparring with southpaws and in the last minute he was facing a right-handed opponent. The movement is different because he trained his muscle memory for a southpaw. A jab from a right-hander and a southpaw are very different. But I’m still proud of his performance in the ring at the age of 42. He’s still amazing,” he said.
“He lost a bit of his movement. Maybe 50 percent. In my opinion, he needs to hang up his gloves, but the decision is up to Senator Manny. I still think he can compete with the elite fighters of his division, but it depends on how he takes care of his body. He already has nothing to prove.”
Whether Pacquiao decides to continue or call it a career, one thing is certain, his place as one of boxing’s all-time greats.