Manny Pacquiao’s boxing mortality has been a hot topic over the past few weeks, primarily because of his own frequent references to seeing the end of the line coming soon. Now, however, the Filipino champion is brushing those comments aside and making it known to one and all: I’m not going anywhere.
During a recent interview, Pacquiao (as recounted by the International Business Times) opted to kill any and all talks that his career is fast-approaching its final turn.
"I still feel young and strong,” he told interviewers, seemingly dismissing the notion that pundits and fans should begin writing their eulogies for his career at this point.
This is great news for boxing fans, who know Pacquiao is one of the sport's great embassadors.
One of the main reasons that Pacquiao’s retirement has become such a highly-scrutinized subject over the past few weeks is because his coming November 12 bout versus Juan Manuel Marquez, in some ways, signifies that he’s run out of quality potential challengers. For over three years now, the Filipino superstar has reigned supreme over boxing, taking out legends like Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley, as well as some quality lesser known talents like Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Antonio Margarito. He beat all of these men handily, and left very little doubt regarding just how much better than them he truly was.
Well, maybe not in De La Hoya’s mind, but certainly in everyone else’s.
And with this coming bout versus Marquez, while Pacquiao is theoretically closing the book on the challenger’s bold claims about the past, in reality, he’s just cashing in on another big pay day with a largely inconsequential opponent. Sure, once upon a time the Pacquiao v. Marquez rivalry may have meant something, but those days are long gone. The only people who think the latter has any shot at upsetting the former at this point is Pacquiao’s longtime critic Teddy Atlas and 90-year-old former trainer Angelo Dundee.
Past Marquez, the only legitimate threat to Pacquiao’s best pound-for-pound crown is Floyd Mayweather Jr. – but with every passing day, that fight looks less and less likely.
Outside of the ring, Pacquiao is an active congressman, and has expressed his intentions at running for higher office on numerous occasions. In fact, he’s so enthusiastic about the prospect of being vice president in his country that he recently made a very public, very noteworthy gaffe about when he would qualify for the post.
So, with so many things awaiting him outside of the ring, and so few real challenges inside the ring, is it really any wonder why so many are already plotting Pacquiao’s retirement? And with remarkable precision and detail, mind you.
Nevertheless, it is sort of refreshing to hear Pacquiao express absolutely zero desire at hanging up his gloves in the foreseeable future. Much like he doesn’t seem to let people pressure him about who to fight or what drug-testing to subject himself to, the champ is equally resistant to folks rushing to nudge him out the door.
Who knows, maybe if he sticks around long enough, maybe they’ll finally be able to work out the kinks to a potential Pacquiao v. Mayweather super fight?
Yeah, probably not.