Glorious exit beckons for Manny Pacquiao
For an aging champion in any sport, quitting while still at the top of one’s game has always been a difficult proposition.
And given the explosive comeback win by Manny Pacquiao on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, the only boxer to win world titles in eight divisions may just delay hanging his gloves for good even if he’s turning 40 this December.
A year after losing his World Boxing Organization welterweight title in a disputed decision to Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Pacquiao seized the World Boxing Association version of the 147-pound title by scoring three knockdowns and dethroning defending champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina in the seventh round by technical knockout.
The southpaw ring legend from General Santos City, now a member of the Philippine Senate, was the Pacquiao of old with his speed and accurate shots that knocked down the 35-year-old Matthysse in the third, fifth and seventh rounds.
Matthysse, who owns one of the best welterweight knockout records with 36 out of 39 wins, spat out his mouthpiece to indicate his surrender to referee Kenny Bayless while down on one knee after the third knockdown with 17 seconds left in the fateful seventh.
It was the 39th abbreviated win in 60 victories for Pacquiao, who actually scored his shortest triumph 10 years ago. Now a multimillionaire whose stature as a super fighter and ring legend is again intact, there’s no point in climbing the ring in search of more glory.
After all, the win over Matthysse, not the loss to Horn, no longer caps Pacquiao’s resumé.
Speaking of renewed fire and determination, the San Miguel Beermen again flashed vintage forms in a vengeful 92-79 win over the Alaska Aces at the start of the best-of-five semifinal playoffs of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Saturday.
With top rookie pick Christian Stanhardinger back in their lineup after going on sick leave with a bum knee since June 3, the Beermen gave the Aces no chance of duplicating their 105-103 conquest in Dumaguete City in the elimination round on May 19.
Alaska, No. 2 in the eliminations, not only missed the services of the suspended Calvin Abueva but crack guard Chris Banchero as well. Banchero had to leave and attend to some family issues in the United States and remains a doubtful starter when the series resumes Monday.
Barangay Ginebra, which beat SMB for the No. 5 slot in the eliminations, and top quarterfinalist Rain or Shine were clashing in the other semifinal duel at press time Sunday.
The Gin Kings rallied from a 1-5 start to reach the Final Four with back-to-back conquests of the Meralco Bolts while the Elasto Painters needed a playoff win Friday over No. 8 qualifiers GlobalPort Batang Pier to stay alive.
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