Pacquiao deserves one final hurrah
IT’S NOT surprising that Manny Pacquiao has said that his last fight will be with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather has supposedly retired but another huge payday and the call of battle can lure back any fighter. Put enough dough on the table and you’ll get somebody nicknamed Money very interested.
But for Pacquiao, it’s more than the paycheck and the other fringe income to be earned from one more fight with Mayweather.
It’s most likely the desire to go out in a blaze of glory: Triumphant, lifted on the shoulders of adoring faithful and exiting with the roar of the crowd still echoing long after the battle has ended. There’s unfinished business for Pacquiao. No matter what pundits, critics or well-intended loyalists say, like most fighters, he probably feels that there’s one more great fight in him and that’s against Mayweather.
Like most superb athletes, Pacquiao craves to end his career on a high note, remembered not for the knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez or the boring decision carved out by Mayweather. Pacquiao wants to finish in a resounding manner, winning against Mayweather and most likely, ending an illustrious career. That’s unless Mayweather still wants to tango for one last rubber match.
But most of the time, athletes never finish with that storybook ending they envisioned. Stories are aplenty of great baseball players like Mickey Mantle ending their careers not with booming home runs but with injuries, the painful sting of the years or the terrors of bad habits left unchecked.
There are boxers as well who did not end their careers on a high. For all his greatness, Muhammad Ali was reduced to a punching bag by Larry Holmes and was finally convinced to retire. The Games and Amusements Board told the great Flash Elorde that he could no longer fight and eventually revoked his license.
Basketball players never really play one last championship game, save for a few blessed ones and eventually just fade into history. Bill Russell and Bob Cousy ended their Boston Celtics careers as champions but Michael Jordan scratched one last itch in a Washington Wizards uniform after years of glory as a Chicago Bull. He retired, then unretired, and finally called it quits.
Let’s grant Pacquiao one last fight, no matter how old he is, what our interpretation of his fighting skills are, or what kind of fight the unbeaten Mayweather brings to that return bout if it happens.
Pacquiao deserves one final hurrah as our own gift to a man who has carried the yoke of being our Pambansang Kamao (National Fists) for a very long time. The fight may not end with him as winner but at least he had one last shot for a rousing finish.
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