If you go by what some have been saying over the past couple of months, Manny Pacquiao shouldn’t even bother fighting Juan Manuel Marquez a fifth time. He should hurry up and retire before he does himself any further physical damage.
Since the beginning of time, boxers have had one big problem: they stick around too long. They are terrible gauging when it’s time to call it quits, and they tend to hang up their gloves when they have to, as opposed to when they should. A lesser known problem is one that boxing writers have. You see, boxing writers tend to bury fighters too quickly. It’s not a malicious thing, of course. Rather, it’s simply because they are so emotionally invested in the sport and what they are seeing, they can’t help but to react to the most recent event regardless of whether it was an aberration or not.
Here is a reality check as it pertains to Pacquiao: he doesn’t need to retire. Yes, he is coming off the first two-fight losing streak of his career – but it’s not that simple. In the eyes of everyone but two incompetent judges, he actually beat Timothy Bradley last year. That wasn’t and shouldn’t be considered a legitimate loss. The stats from the match speak for themselves:
As far as the Marquez loss goes – okay, that was a legitimate defeat. (For the purposes of this discussion, let’s ignore the fact that, at 39 years old, Marquez came in boasting his best physique ever. After working with a known PED peddler, no less.) That is one bad knockout loss that we can pin on Pacquiao, but is one loss really enough to call for a man’s retirement?
Of course not.
The funny thing is, Pacquiao didn’t look all that bad in either of his two most recent losses. He was better than his opponents in each one, actually. It just so happened that he walked into a brutal counter in the second and got screwed in the first. His worst showing to date, when you think about, came in his win over Marquez two Novembers ago. (The third fight.) If ever he looked like a guy that needed to retire, it was after that snoozefest.
At the end of the day, if Pacquiao comes back strong in his next match, all of this stuff about him being due for retirement will be forgotten. And if he doesn’t? Well, then he will just end up proving all the doubters right.