The hardest thing for a fighter to do is know when to hang up the gloves. They like the glitz, the glamour and most importantly, the money. I get it. Everyone likes money. You want to exhaust every avenue until the well has dried up.
But what if you’re still better than 95 percent of the fighters out there and have money that will last you 100 lifetimes along with the glitz and glamour? Why should you ride off into the sunset?
Welcome to the dilemma of Manny Pacquiao.
On Saturday, in front of about 55,000 people at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, Jeff Horn upset Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision (117-111, 115-113, 115-113) to capture the WBO welterweight title.
Not to take anything from Horn (17-0-1), who fought valiantly, but there’s no way he won the fight. According to CompuBox stats, Pacquiao (59-7-2) connected on 182 of 573 punches for 32 percent while Horn only landed 92 of 625 punches: a paltry 15 percent. Those statistics don’t win you world title fights. The numbers can get you to a decision loss, but unless the opponent curls into a shell, a loss ends up on your record.
After the fight had concluded, Horn and Pacquiao agreed to a rematch, since it was inserted into the contract. Seeing what we saw on Saturday, the rematch would likely go the same way. And if judges who actually have two working eyes score the fight, Pacquiao will win.
But at this point, does a rematch even make sense?
For the sake of Pacquiao correcting a wrong and winning his belt back, sure. Pacquiao, though, needs to seriously consider retiring. He doesn’t need to get punched in the head anymore. He has fought 69 times and taken a lot of punishment over his career. With the issues of concussions and what has happened to famous boxers — most notably Muhammad Ali — it’s better to get out while you still have all your functions.
The speed and power that put “Pac-Man” on the map in his knockout wins over Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto are gone. The openings Horn left for Pacquiao were there, but the 38-year-old couldn’t load up to inflict punishment. Horn is the type of fighter Pacquiao would have blown out inside of five rounds in his heyday. But on Saturday, he came away with two gashes on each side of his head.
Fighters never want to end their careers on a low note. Every athlete wants go out on top. Sometimes though, it’s better to be safe than sorry and err on the side caution. Whatever decision Pacquiao makes, let’s hope he does it for the right reasons.