What next, Manny?

By now, every sports fan and his neighbor has given his two cents’ worth on Manny Pacquiao’s stunning win over now dethroned welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse over the weekend.

For a lot of boxing fanatics, the Filipino’s  7th round TKO over the Argentinian was not only a pleasant surprise, it was almost a total shock.

See, there is no doubt that Pacquiao’s skills have been eroded by time. His last few fights showed that his fists were not as powerful as before. He was also a little bit slower, and the killer instinct for which he became idolized worldwide seemed to have disappeared.

Because of this, he was no longer the mega draw that he was when he was at his peak.

By his own admission, Pacquiao said he was “addicted” to boxing, which is why he found it hard to retire and leave behind the sport that not only made him a billionaire (in peso terms), but helped win him a senate seat as well.

It’s no secret that he has aspirations for higher office – meaning the presidency – and it is a dream that is not easily dismissed. With a little bit of luck and proper timing, who knows?

There are those who say that Pacman needs to continue fighting because he owes millions in back taxes, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue will continue to hound him until he settles those obligations. This may be the real reason he remains active in the ring. He has not handled his finances well and has been too generous to too many people.

Whatever the reason, the champ will keep on fighting and earning big bucks in the near future. My own personal wish is for him to have a   rematch with Jeff Horn, who won over him last year in what was clearly a hometown decision.

He is talking of a possible rematch with Floyd Mayweather, but everyone knows this is not likely to happen. The American is too rich to think of risking his unblemished record as a pro boxer just to earn a hundred million dollars or so.

President Duterte’s advice is for Senator Pacquiao to retire already. This makes some sense, as the best way to go is when one is on top. But he is clearly not sold on the thought of hanging up his gloves for good.

I’d hate to see him meet the same fate as the late, great Gabriel ‘Flash’ Elorde, or even Mike Tyson. Both were awesome at their peak, but didn’t know when to quit. As a result, they lost miserably in their last few fights.

Manny Pacquiao turns 40 this year. As a politician, he is still young. But as a professional athlete, he is old.

Yes, he put up quite an impressive performance over the weekend and deserves the congratulations and adulation he has again experienced after being considered a has-been last year.

Only Pacquiao can decide what happens next. But at least he is already guaranteed his place in the history books, having won more world titles in multiple weight classes than any other fighter. This is a record that in all probability will never be broken.

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