Manny Pacquiao’s future is uncertain at the moment. He has one fight scheduled for 2013, and coming off two straight defeats, saying that he desperately needs a victory in this one would be something of an understatement. Brandon Rios, the man he will be fighting in November, has been dismissed by just about everyone as having no shot – but that’s mostly just because they aren’t as familiar with his work. He will pose a serious threat to the Filipino star when they square off, and seeing him leave the ring with a knockout victory would probably be far less surprising than when Juan Manuel Marquez did it last December.
One of the less spoken about things as it pertains to Pacquiao is his mental state heading into the Rios fight. As we saw this past weekend in the UFC 162 main event between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman, certain champions, no matter how great they were and are, end up beating themselves when they become too mentally worn out. It’s obviously impossible to say for certain whether or not Pacquiao has reached that point, however, it is worth noting that over the past three fights we’ve heard more about his mental state and out-of-ring distractions (both political and personal) than we had in years prior.
A pretty fair indicator as to where Pacquiao’s head is at heading into this November’s showdown is his attitude towards retirement. Typically, guys who have one foot in the ring and one foot out speak about retirement in a certain way; as if they’re almost welcoming the day when they’re able to hang up their gloves once and for all.
Is Pacquiao at that point? According to a recent interview his advisor, Michael Koncz gave, apparently not.
“Manny is his own boss,” Koncz told Matt Christie of Boxing News (via the Philippine Star). “He loves his family but Manny is going to retire when Manny wants to retire. He has not thought about walking away. With regard to comments from doctors, how can a doctor make an assessment of Manny without examining him?
“He underwent some extensive medical exams to make sure that his health was okay. The night of the fight (against Marquez), we rushed him to the hospital, did an MRI and then we got back to the Philippines and we did a subsequent CAT Scan. I was with him and observing him, for the next month. But he was immediately playing chess and games where you have to utilize the mind substantially and there were no issues.”
Based on Koncz’s statements, apparently Pacquiao isn’t looking to retire just yet. While that doesn’t sound important, it is. Silva lost on Saturday night because he didn’t want to win anymore. Mind you, that’s not the same thing as wanting to lose. Wanting to lose leads someone to intentionally throw an event – not wanting to win means you’re just too mentally worn out to pursue victory like you may have in the past.
If Pacquiao were to go into the Rios bout with that sort of mentality, he’d almost certainly get dropped. The fact that he still has at least some hunger in his belly for the sport, however much it may be, means he has as good a shot at winning his next fight as his camp could hope for.