Sunday , June 24, 2018

Slower at 38: ‘Old’ Manny no longer Manny of old

AFTER 22 years and 68 pro fights, it’s about time for legendary Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao to call it a career.

Following a unanimous decision loss to younger challenger Jeff Horn yesterday at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, some boxing personalities urged the 38-year-old Pacquiao to hang up his gloves.

“Manny has nothing more to prove. He is one of the best ever fighters in the world. It is a hard decision to make for Manny because I feel he will opt for a rematch but I personally feel he should hang up his gloves. I really feel bad about his loss,” ALA Gym founder Antonio Lopez Aldeguer told SunStar Cebu.

It was a fight that Pacquiao could have won, but the judges saw it differently and gave it to the hometown boy, Horn.

“They said that it was a sure win for Manny, I think he should just retire. He has nothing to prove anymore. He has already proven it in the past. I think now boxing for him is just pure business,” said three-division world champion and current International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight titleholder Donnie Nietes.

Former world champion and current Wild Card Gym trainer Rodel Mayol feels that Pacquiao has no reason to fight anymore because he has already achieved what most boxers have never achieved.

“He just has to retire. He doesn’t need to win or lose. He has already reached everything. He must quit while he is still healthy. Nobody has ever achieved what he has achieved, becoming an eight-division world champion,” he said.

Mayol, however, thinks that there was something fishy with the judges’ decision.

“Boxing is business. Bob Arum played Manny. Everybody knows that Manny won that fight but officially lost because it’s his last fight under Top Rank. If Manny won, it would have been a huge loss for Top Rank that’s why they let Jeff Horn win,” he said.

Aldeguer felt that Pacquiao’s age has finally caught up with him with his diminishing speed and low work rate.

“Very entertaining fight. Either one could have won the fight but definitely Manny was not his old self anymore. His age finally caught up with him. Horn was too big and strong and he bullied and roughed up Manny. The US media gave the fight to Manny but I had Horn winning by a slight margin. Gone were his rapid multiple punches. He was throwing one punch at the time. Manny was not not his old self anymore,” he said.

Antonio’s son Michael Aldeguer, the president of ALA Promotions, also noticed Pacquiao’s downslide. He, however, wants Pacquiao to fight Horn again before deciding to call it quits.

“It is always a concern when a fighter is young and has nothing to lose. It is never easy when any athlete reaches a certain age, we have to give credit to Horn as he came in well prepared and well conditioned, he was big and strong. My hope is for Manny to fight Horn again as there is a rematch clause, get the title back and make a really hard to decision to retire or fight again,” he said. “Our country cares a lot for Manny and want the best for him and the last thing the Filipinos want to see is for him to get hurt. At 38 years old, Manny being a senator and a fighter at the same time is never easy. Manny has nothing more to prove but knowing Manny, he will be back. We should all be here to support Manny win or lose. He has done so much for the sport and for our country.”

ALA Gym head coach Edito Villamor doesn’t see any controversy in the fight and will support whatever decision Pacquiao makes.

“It’s a close fight. The fight could have gone either way. But there is a difference between watching on TV and watching it live, there are angles that you can’t see,” said Villamor, a former world title challenger. “It all depends on Pacman on what he wants to do next but Pacquiao has nothing more to prove in the boxing world. Whatever his decision is let’s still support him.”

Christopher “Ping-Ping” Tepora, Johnriel Casimero’s former trainer and now a trainer at Big Yellow, felt that Pacquiao lost the fight but the scorecard of Waleska Roldan was way off.

“The 115-113 scores were okay but the 117-111 scored was way too far apart,” he said.

Tepora believes Pacquiao still has a lot of gas left in the tank and should continue fighting.