Five years after Manny Pacquiao hangs up his gloves he will go into the International Boxing Hall of Fame the first time he is put on the ballot. The Pacman has broken box office records and has made more money than any former flyweight or featherweight champion. In fact, if your not including Floyd Mayweather and maybe Mike Tyson he has made more money than any boxer period. More importantly however he’s broken boxing records.
Pacquiao was the first former flyweight world champion to win the featherweight title and you can keep going up all the way to welterweight. He was also the first 4-division lineal world champion and the only 8-division world champion in boxing history. Pacquiao’s resume isn’t perfect and the two catch-weight bouts against Cotto and Margarito will look worse as time passes on, but he did more than enough to be considered an all time great. From 2000-2009 he won titles at 122, 126, 130,135, 140 and 147 pounds.
In 2010, Pacquiao decided to run for congress in the Philippines and since he was elected the Pacman of old disappeared. The fighter who came back to the corner smiling after a back and forth round with Erik Morales no longer exists. The fighter who pummeled Marco Antonio Barrera in the 11th round to ensure a victory even after dominating every round is no longer there. The Pacman was now civilized and most importantly no longer hungry. With every training camp being under a microscope by HBO’s 24/7 it seemed that he was still giving it 100% in training, but the reality is he gave only 80% in training and seemed to go through the motions in all of his fights. The one time he looked to put his all into a fight he was taken out and put to sleep. Even in the biggest, most anticipated fight in history he seemed to just go through the motions and was content to just box. This match should probably be changed to a no-contest and stricken from the history books and all fans should pretend that it never happened.
The point being the Pacman has now gone soft. Boxing saved Pacquaio, but he is no longer invested in the sport with passion.
If the rumors are true, Pacquiao will only have one more fight and then end his career; boxing fans should feel relieved. For the past few years there have been talks that Pacquiao owes money for taxes in the Phillipines and the United States and this may be a reason for him to keep fighting. Hopefully Pacquiao will be able to have made enough money outside of the ring and saved enough of the money he made inside the ring that he doesn’t need to make any comebacks out of neccessity. Pacquiao deserves to have one last fight where he is celebrated for being the most exciting fighter of this era. Pacquiao gave us events that actually lived up and exceeded the expectations. If Pacquiao goes out fighting a Terrence Crawford then he will go out the same way he came up by fighting the best. Win or lose Pacquiao’s legacy is set in stone. As a fan I won’t forget first seeing Pacquiao take on Ledwaba in 2001 and winning in an exciting upset or his battles with Marquez, Barrera, and Morales. His ascension in 2008 and 2009 was one of the most exciting in the history of the sport. Pacquiao is at the stage now where this is the end of his career inside the ring, the beginning of the end started in 2010 as his passion left. As a great writer once said, “In Boxing your not given a gold watch when you retire, you’re given a beating.”
Let’s hope the Pacman doesn’t stick around long enough to hold this adage to be true.