Manny Pacquiao ponders retirement

If Manny Pacquiao decided to retire and walk away from the sport of boxing today, his legacy as one of the greatest to ever to lace up boxing gloves is more than secure. The sport he will be leaving behind, however, may be a different story.

With one sensational performance after another, Pacquiao undoubtedly has resuscitated a sport yearning for a new torch bearer. His last two fights have both been blockbuster and sold-out affairs generating more than three million Pay-Per-View buys altogether. His emergence as boxing’s biggest superstar and his massive following has given the sport a much-needed boost, especially under these financially testing times and with the UFC rapidly threatening to become the main fight sport and in the process winning over a lot of what used to be boxing’s fan base.

In a report from Philippines network television GMA 7, Pacquiao was said to have begun pondering his retirement. Stating that he has been in the sport long enough and has little left to prove, Pacquiao was said to be thinking about one last fight in October against either Juan Manuel Marquez or Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pacquiao was also quoted saying his desire to help his nation through politics may be the new calling he intends to pursue.

Boxing will definitely survive without Manny Pacquiao.  But with no clear superstar waiting to take his place, and with aging stars such as Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins already on their last legs, it will be difficult for boxing to find another marquee figure to attach itself to that provides the drama and action that Manny Pacquiao delivers each time he fights. Floyd Mayweather Jr. may have come back from retirement, but the consensus with Mayweather is that he isn’t the crowd pleasing fighter that Pacquiao is.  That’s why his fights are a tougher sell than Pacquiao’s.

Nobody can really blame Pacquiao if he does indeed walk away from the game today. He already has the money. He has a ton of other investments and avenues he has put his hands in to keep him busy. He’s an actor, singer, promoter and businessman, just to name a few of the hats he wears.

But my hope is that Pacquiao will realize that even if he no longer needs the sport the way he used to when he first thought of becoming a world champion that the sport probably needs him more now than any other time in his life. On top of that, he is still in his prime. I know even Michael Jordan retired and came back one too many times before, but a Pacquiao retirement today would be like the first time MJ stepped away from the game. He simply has too much left in his tank to call it quits.

At the end of the day, all of this could just be talk. But if Pacquiao does indeed hang the gloves up, I’ll be the first to stand up and tip my hat to say thanks to a man that has given millions of people renewed fever for the sport and showed the world the kind of impact and good that can come out of boxing.

My only wish is that I wouldn’t have to do that anytime soon.


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