Manny Pacquiao is facing two very distinct options heading into his November fight against Brandon Rios. He can either beat his much younger counterpart in impressive fashion and keep on fighting, or he can lose and watch his career end once in for all. Those are pretty much the only two ways this thing can go.
Generally speaking, when athletes like Pacquiao get cornered in this manner, they respond in a big way.
If they’re able to.
You see, there are two schools of thoughts on the Filipino star’s recent losing streak. Some people chalk it up to a mental thing – he’s just been too distracted with out-of-ring stuff. Others, however, chalk it up to a physical thing. If Pacquiao’s woes are the byproduct of a physical decline – there’s no bouncing back from that. If it’s mental, though, then perhaps the motivation of knowing he’s fighting for his career will drive the eight division champ.
And make no mistake about it, he is fighting for his career.
During a recent interview with Yahoo! Sports Kevin Iole, trainer Freddie Roach insisted that Pacquiao promised to call it quits if he gets dropped again.
"It's over, 100 percent [if Pacquiao is knocked out by Rios]," he said. "We have a deal. When I tell him it's over, he'll say it's over and that's it. He's pretty loyal with his words and if that happens, it will be the end."
In the same conversation, Iole asked Roach if he felt like his guy was losing it.
"None whatsoever, and I'd tell you if I did," Roach said. "The thing is, people look at the losses and they think the reason is that he's getting old. That's not the case, not from what I see. Look, we all thought he beat Bradley, so throw that out. And in the Marquez fight, I thought he was doing well and was looking like he was going to win by knockout when he made a mistake and ran into a shot.
He added: "That happens. That's boxing. It didn't happen because his skills aren't the same as they used to be. It happened because he made a mistake. It doesn't matter what age you are, you can make a mistake."
Roach better hope so. Because if the cause of those losses was in fact Pacquiao’s skills not being what they used to be, and if he plans to stay true to the pledge he made his trainer, then the Rios bout might very well be the last time we see him in the ring.