Pacquiao vs Horn 2: Why it'll be Manny's last fightWritten by Lee Cleveland
Manny Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to Jeff Horn on Saturday. And regardless of what we think about the verdict, that version of Pacquiao appeared to be a far cry from the PacMan we are accustomed to seeing.
Although punchstats insist Manny dominated, they don't accurately reflect the fight's tone. And while most believe Manny deserved to win, something was missing. He was presumably given the perfect opponent to shine against. Yes, many of us thought it would be Pacquiao vs Brandon Rios and Pacquiao vs Chris Algieri all over again.
But this Manny Pacquiao was different, and not in a good way.
Many insist the 38 year old PacMan is over the hill but I beg to differ because he was sharp in his most recent outings. Perhaps age played some role but it appears Pacquiao is torn between two careers and is no longer able to juggle both successfully.
He's a senator first and a prizefighter second... That part is clear as is Pacquiao's future in boxing.
Per reports, Manny's longtime trainer Freddie Roach has suggested the legend hang 'em up after the rematch. And it may have been one of the most difficult-to-swallow pieces of advice Manny has ever heard.
Roach's advice to Manny
“It does bother me,” Roach told Yahoo! Sports. “That’s why I suggested to Manny, ‘Hey Manny, I think you should retire.’ He said, ‘Well, what about fighting a rematch with this guy?’ I said, ‘Well, maybe a rematch, but then that’s it. There can be no more [fights with Floyd] Mayweather and so forth.’"
“I would suggest to Manny that he retire now. But he wants to have that rematch in a neutral area, maybe in the Philippines. As a going-away party, I think that would be great. But then that’s it.”
Good call, Freddie.
Considering Pacquiao's humility and the their close relationship through the years, expect Manny to take heed.
Given what transpired after the conclusion of Round 9, perhaps it's best Manny didn't KO Horn in that round because we'd probably be talking about Pacquiao vs Crawford or Garcia if he did.
In that round 9, Manny had his foe badly hurt. The 'PacMan of old' would have unleashed vile combinations to stop Horn but 'Senator Pacquiao' let him slip away, even allowing Horn to be competitive in the ensuing rounds.
“I told Manny, ‘If you give me another one of those [rounds], this fight is over,’ ” Roach said. “I said, ‘If you give more round like that, you’ll finish him.’ But he just couldn’t do it. Getting older sucks, and it happens to everyone sooner or later.”
Terence Crawford and Mikey Garcia
Even if Manny had found favor with the judges and won a decision, would superfight showdowns with the likes of Terence Crawford or Mikey Garcia still be a possibility after Saturday's performance?
And if Manny starches Horn in two rounds in their rematch, it still wouldn't justify a Crawford or Garcia fight ... Unless Manny took a hiatus from the Senate to prepare himself properly.
Pacquiao vs Horn 2
If promoted well, Pacquiao vs Horn 2 could be almost as big as Pacquiao vs Crawford would have been. The revenge factor is there, Horn has piqued the interest of a lot of people and many will want to see Pacquiao's presumed last hurrah.
And should Pacquiao defeat Horn and retire, he will end a magnificient career on top and as a world champion.
...Unfortunately, few stars throughout boxing history have exited on such a high note.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.