Nine-time, seven-weight world title holder Manny Pacquiao will be pushing 38 when the Filipino great is fit enough to make a comeback to boxing on the back of his defeat to career rival Floyd Mayweather Jr on May 2.
Suffering a shoulder injury in the build-up, Pacquiao was out of sorts during the clash, although it is still debatable whether a ‘Pacman’ firing on all cylinders could have penetrated the amazing defensive display by the ‘Money’ man in Las Vegas.
Despite an initially agreed rematch, Mayweather has rescinded any chance of the pair meeting again – leaving Pacquiao with a decision to make as to whether he really wants to continue on without anything further to prove.
A second clash with Mayweather, when Pacquiao is 100% in mind and body, would still be a draw for May 2016 with a large portion of the boxing fans, but with rumours of pay-per-view sales in excess of four million, there is no real possibility that those figures could ever topped.
So who would Pacquiao face if he does return to action? – Fights with Amir Khan and Kell Brook in the UK would certainly give the Congressman the opportunity to branch out, but beyond that, fights in Macau and the US against lesser name opponents may not get Pacquiao’s blood pumping enough.
A move up to 154 against Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin wouldn’t be a good idea due to Pacquaio’s size and declining punching power as fending off two brutes who hit like mules would be too difficult for him without any really hurtful shots of his own.
A fifth instalment with Juan Manuel Marquez always has a place in the sport, although the Mexican would be almost 43 by the time Pacquiao is lining up his next outing, coupled with the fact that ‘Dinamita’ has already been out of the ring a year and shown little interest in another fight.
The reality is that Pacquaio could walk away from boxing a legend today and lose none of his amazing achievements. So it could make sense for those around him to be encouraging to the notion that retirement may not be the worst idea in the world.
Winning world championships from 112lbs to 147lbs may never be replicated in the sport ever again, so for this reason alone Pacquiao will always be revered as one of the greatest fighters to ever lace on the gloves.
Whatever Pacquiao decides should be respected and applauded for what has been one of the most remarkable stories in boxing and there should be no question of denting his C.V solely from his performance, or lack of it, against a marvel like Mayweather.