LAS VEGAS, Nevada, January 16, 2019 – When you are the only eight-division champion in boxing history, you have nothing left to prove on your way to the Boxing Hall of Fame.
Before he gets there, Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) returns to the U.S. for the first time in over two years, taking on an improbable opponent in American Adrien “The Problem” Broner of Cincinnati (33-3-1, 24 KOs) for Pacquiao’s WBA world welterweight title.
Journalists and fans have criticized this fight, pointing mostly at Broner. His lackluster performances inside the ring due to a lack of work ethic, and his bad behavior causing distractions and legal detention outside the ring render him unworthy in their eyes of sharing the ring with Pacquiao. Couple it with the inevitable howl over paying $75 to see the bout and the undercard fights on Showtime PPV.
Father Time is fighting to win
Like it or loathe it, Father Time is chasing Manny Pacquiao down. He won’t be in the ring much longer. Fans don’t realize how much they will miss him. Out of respect for his accomplishments, consider carefully whether you want to miss seeing Pacquiao on Saturday.
Among the greatest fighters in the modern era, Pacquiao put Filipino boxing on the map and opened the door to the popularity of Asian boxing as a whole in the Western Hemisphere. When Pacquiao fought and soundly defeated Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas in 2016, he vowed he would retire as a promise to his family. By now an elected senator from his home province of Sarangani, he would turn his attention to his political career, awaiting the date In 2022 when he could run for president of his country. And no doubt win.
Under media questioning post-fight, Pacquiao began to hedge, saying perhaps he’d see how he felt about retirement. As everyone surmised, he couldn’t stay away. He returned to Las Vegas six months later, looking reinvigorated in his energetic defeat of Jessie Vargas.
Plenty of gas left in Pacquiao’s tank
Since then, Pacquiao suffered a controversial decision loss to Australian Jeff Horn on Horn’s home turf in Brisbane in July 2017, after having Horn on the brink of quitting in the corner. Would Pacquiao finally make an exit stick? Recall though Pacquiao shrugged off a similar robbery in his first fight against Bradley.
Instead, he took on warhorse Lucas Matthysse of Argentina in Kuala Lumpur last fall, knocking him down three times on the way to a seventh-round TKO victory. If ever a fight looked like a curtain call, perhaps this was it.
But with a belt in hand, time to kill, and so many of his ongoing charitable ventures in need, Pacquiao is back in the ring again this Saturday on familiar American turf. He’s seemingly reached some sort of agreement over his IRS debts, and is working with advisor Al Haymon under his MP Promotions banner.
Manny Pacquiao enjoying himself too much to retire
It’s still good to be Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao made the smart decision to train in Los Angeles with longtime mentor Freddie Roach. Up to Tuesday’s formal arrival in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel, Pacquiao appears in good spirits, training hard with a smile on his face and in phenomenal looking condition for a boxer who’s put in 462 professional rounds, so many of them memorable and nearly all of them thrilling.
And it’s still good to be a Manny Pacquiao fan, and have Pacquiao in the sport of boxing. Discount Broner as an opponent, but he has a legitimate enough resume. Pacquiao is favored to win and says he’ll work to knock Broner out – something only one of Broner’s opponents has ever accomplished, Marcos Maidana. This is a 40-year-old man talking, and we take it at face value. It’s Manny Pacquiao.
The FOMO is real, don’t pass up seeing one of the greats in action
Consider whether you’ll be sorry later missing the opportunity at any price to see one of the greatest living fighters live this Saturday night. Get a few friends together, divide the $75 among three or four of you and it’s nothing more than you’d blow for an average meal. Or treat some people who have been good to you to the show. These days, Senator Manny Pacquiao is all about giving back to the people at home. It’s a fine example to follow.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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