By hinting that his retirement may come sooner rather than later, Manny Pacquiao has left the boxing community in a slight state of shock. Mind you, this is one of the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and if he did hang up his gloves, it could be devastating for a sport in a constant state of struggle to maintain any sort of regular relevance among common fans.
But the thing that makes Pacquiao’s retirement talk interesting isn’t the ultimate impact it would have on boxing as a whole – it’s the weird excuse he’s using to explain his thought process. According to comments translated by MindaNews.com (via USA Today), Pacquiao says his new dedication to religion makes him hesitant to fight.
"It's not right that I share God's word and at the same time hurt other people," Pacquiao told reporters at a military ceremony in the Philippines.
"I've gained more than enough blessings these past years so I think it's time for me to return the favor.”
The Filipino champion made those comments in regards to fights that would take place after his looming June 9 showdown versus Timothy Bradley. Of course, the obvious question here is: why fight Bradley then?
After all, if Pacquiao is suddenly feeling more religious and doesn’t want to inflict damage onto others, why would he fight anyone else? And when you factor in the undeniable truth that Bradley will likely get destroyed come June, there is even more reason to doubt what Pacquiao is saying.
If the champ is feeling a certain way about fighting people and hurting them, wouldn’t it make sense to fight an equal then? Someone who has a good chance of defending himself? Maybe a person whose name rhymes with Lloyd Hayfeather?
As we noted a couple of days ago – Pacquiao won’t retire. He’s too competitive, there is too much money available and, most importantly, Bob Arum would never let him. Mix all that together with the fact that he doesn’t even care enough about hurting other people to cancel his fight versus Bradley, and you start getting something that smells like a publicity ploy.
Think about it – a bout versus Bradley billed as possibly Pacquiao’s last fight ever would be a pay-per-view (PPV) monster. A bout versus Bradley that he’s using as a warm-up for Juan Manuel Marquez, Lamont Peterson or Mayweather? Not so much.
What do you think: are you buying what the champ is selling right now?