Last June Manny Pacquiao suffered a stunning split decision loss to Timothy Bradley. The result of that match was widely scrutinized and discredited by most knowledgeable boxing minds, but it still gave the Filipino star his first defeat in seven years. And even though nobody really felt as though Bradley had won that match, Pacquiao’s inability to finish him off via knockout did lead to some interesting questions being asked.
Is Manny still at the top of his game? Why wasn’t he able take out a clearly wounded foe? Would he be able to beat a more worthy opponent?
Last week, Pacquiao suffered his second consecutive defeat. This one came by way of knockout, and nobody questioned its legitimacy. Following this latest loss, you didn’t have the same sort of whispers you heard earlier in the year. There weren’t numerous points of interest. Everyone had one question and one question only: should Pacquiao retire?
His wife, Jinkee, made her position very clear – she wants her husband to hang up his gloves for good.
"It's the first time I've seen him like that, lying on the canvas, and I was scared,'' she told USA Today Sports, admitting that she began screaming and crying before promoter Bob Arum comforted her.
"I know he is still (capable) of fighting, but for me there is nothing to prove. He already has eight (title) belts. He can retire — stop — at anytime. I want him to stop now. But he is the one who has the last say. Boxers risk their lives; (some) end up in wheelchairs. I don't want that to happen to Manny.''
A caring wife prioritizing her husband’s health over his career isn’t unusual. It’s an admirable thing, really. But does Jinkee have a point? Has Pacquiao gotten to the point where him continuing to fight is just too dangerous?
Prior to getting dropped, Pacquiao was winning his match against Marquez 47-46 on every single judge’s scorecard. He threw more jabs (26 to 11), more power punches (68 to 41) and more total punches (94 to 52). More importantly, he was connecting on a noticeably higher percentage in each category (24% to 11%, 46% to 27% and 37% to 21%, respectively.)
And Marquez is one of the world’s premiere fighters.
Yes, last weekend didn’t go according to plan; however, that is no reason to get overexcited. Jinkee’s overreaction can be justified – she is a doting wife. But avid boxing fans and analysts need to keep their emotions in check. Pacquiao is still a top-tier fighter.
For what it’s worth, Pacquiao doesn’t want to retire yet. And seeing as the final decision will ultimately be made him, it’s probably safe to say that we haven’t seen him fight in his last bout yet.
"I remember (hitting the canvas). My head dropped — boom!'' Pacquiao said. "But I feel good. He just got lucky with that one punch. It made good impact because my face was going forward — it was all timing. He threw the punch without looking; he was surprised (it landed). But give him credit.''
Does that sound like someone ready to call it quits? Of course not. It sounds like someone who acknowledges that he got careless, and who knows he should have done better.
Might the Filipino star still decide to retire? Sure. Should he? Nope.
(Kudos USA Today Sports)