Still the best boxer in the world
In a way, the beating Manny Pacquiao has suffered in the hands of World Boxing Association welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas of Cuba is a blessing in disguise.
It is a clear sign it is time for “Pacman” to hang his gloves. The one who stood toe-to-toe with the Cuban champion is a far cry from the boxer who created so much excitement in the sport that every time he steps into the ring, friends and foes are electrified.
Not this time. Father time has finally caught up with him and to deny that he is so much slower, a bit sluggish, and is less competitive is to put himself in harm’s way.
Even before the fight started, there were already ominous signs Pacquiao will not come out victorious. He was in hiatus from boxing for more than two years. The hibernation took its toll and his fast hands and fleet feet were visibly atrophied. He had no answers to the cross right hooks and the double jabs that his opponent relentlessly and mercilessly unleashed.
Add to that, Pacquiao was in Las Vegas to fight Errol Spence. Ugas was a last-minute substitute. He stood up to the plate as a worthy replacement. However, Pacquiao was not able to adjust and was dazed in the fight. His fight plan was put in jeopardy the moment Spence stepped out of the picture.
He, too, had to contend with distractions from his home country during his training camp. Before he left to train, Pacquiao was ridiculed by the President and a million trolls from disengaging himself from the ruling party. He had this noble quest to expose corruption in the government though nobody took him seriously. He was dislodged in absentia as party chairman of the PDP-Laban. His plan to run for president is in disarray. Surely, all these took a toll on his mental toughness and affected his preparation for the fight.
It is, therefore, not surprising that for his fight against Ugas, life in the Philippines did not stand still. Whereas, in his past bouts, all of us took a day-off to watch him display his wares, it is not so this time. Have we become tired and bored of Pacquiao? Yes and no.
We are bored of the politician in Pacquiao but not in the boxer in him. For The Pacman to boldly announce his ambition to seek the presidency is an affront to our sensitivity. If at all, it is ill-timed so that, his most recent fight was considered more as a political statement than a sporting gesture. Had he won, it would have emboldened him to double his effort to woo us into voting for him into the office of the President.
Pacquiao remains our hero and we must continue treating him as a national treasure. He had done wonders for the country as a boxer. His fight against Ugas does not define his career. At the cusp of retirement, we must support him, not necessarily in his candidacy for president, if ever he will pursue it, but, in other ways like immortalizing him as the best boxer in the world.