Manny Pacquiao: The Long Goodbye

By Robert Ecksel on January 20, 2016
Manny Pacquiao: The Long Goodbye
Most fighters who retire come back for more, but maybe Manny Pacquiao will be different.

Pacquiao’s rags-to-riches story is also boxing’s story, and unlike most boxing stories, this one appears to have a happy ending…

“To say goodbye is to die a little.”—Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye

Most fighters who retire come back for more, but maybe Manny Pacquiao will be different.

At Tuesday’s press conference in the Crystal Ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Pacquiao announced that the April 9 fight against Timothy Bradley will be his last.

“I’m so happy to be hanging up my gloves after this fight,” he said. “I’m sure I will feel sad but that’s life. You can’t keep on fighting all the time. But it’s time I think.”

We think it’s time as well. Pacquiao has had an extraordinary career. During his 20 years of active duty, he fought everyone. But having lost three of his last six fights, to Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 and Floyd Mayweather last year, the writing has been on the wall for awhile.

“I started out in boxing because I wanted to help my family, my mother,” Pacquiao said. “Now I’m ending my boxing career because I want to help my countrymen, the Filipino people. I’m ending because I want to serve the people.”

Pacquiao’s second act began several years ago and don’t be surprised if he becomes President of the Philippines. It’s not inevitable, nothing in politics is inevitable, and Manny’s promoter is hedging his bets.

“I will not promote it as Manny’s last fight,” Arum said. “He says he’s going to retire, and maybe he will. The truth is that you never know with any boxer, but I haven’t known Manny to say things he doesn’t mean. But we all realize this could be the last time he fights.”

Arum has been accused of many things over the years, by fans as well as law enforcement, but he has never been accused of being sentimental.

“Brandon Rios retired after his last fight,” said Arum, “and unretired half an hour later. Some of these fighters, they retire when they have one wife, and when they get another one, they un-retire.

“Maybe he will retire, but I’m not gonna lose sleep on it.”

Some believe that if Pacquiao defeats the seemingly new and improved Bradley and looks good doing it, he will come to his senses and try to lure Mayweather out of retirement. There may be a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow, but their first fight, however successful financially, was ultimately bad for boxing and a second fight, should it materialize, will be even worse.

“He retired already,” said Pacquiao about Mayweather, “so I’m going to retire also after this fight. My family wanted me to retire before I fought Mayweather. I never regret. In fact, I thought I won the fight. A lot of people, my fans, believe I won the fight.”

Pacquiao may have been the sentimental favorite in the latest iteration of the “fight of the century,” but he didn’t win the fight, no way, no how, no matter what he and a “lot of people” think.

If this is indeed Pacquiao’s swan song, the buzz surrounding the bout could have been greater. Perhaps if he was fighting Terence Crawford or Amir Khan, instead of a rubber match with Timothy Bradley, that might have been the case.

Whether it was Arum or the cable companies or the satellite providers who decided Bradley was the easiest sell hardly matters. From a boxing standpoint, Pacquiao-Bradley III is something of a nonstarter, whether it’s Manny’s final fight or not.

But Pacquiao’s rags-to-riches story is also boxing’s story, and unlike most boxing stories, this one appears to have a happy ending.

Even Bob Arum, dry-eyed as usual, admitted, “I can’t come to grips with the feeling that this is his last fight.”

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  1. Leigh 01:16am, 01/23/2016

    It’s true Eric arum is older than water ! I love manny his style the way he holds himself outside the ring but I lose a bit of love for him every time he say’s I won the mayweather fight, please manny stop already .

  2. Eric 10:44am, 01/20/2016

    When will Bob Arum retire? That guy has been around longer than Jerry Rivers aka Geraldo Rivera.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:56am, 01/20/2016

    Great Boxing.Com report as expected. Which reminds me….if he loses big….he retires….if he loses close ....he retires….if he wins close….he retires….if he wins big….emphatic…. like a KO late…..there will be a second Fake of the Century.

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