Photo by YP Yim
Is April 9th Pacquiao’s farewell fight?
By Igor Frank
All good things must come to an end. And so the fighter of last decade, eight division world champion, boxing icon, Manny” Pacman” Pacquiao has scheduled his farewell fight against WBO welterweight champion, Timothy” Desert Storm” Bradley on April, 9th, 2016. HBO PPV will televise this event live from the Mecca of boxing, MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“May be this is our last time to see each other,” said 37 year old Pacquiao addressing fans and media during Tuesday Press conference held at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles:” I am giving you thanks for all your support. Without you guys I am not here.”
Over the years Manny Pacquiao has thrilled fans to no end over and over again to create an almost cult like following not only in his beloved country of Philippines, but all around the world. Pacman burst on the boxing scene in June of 2001at the same location where he intends to end his career, MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Put in as a late replacement, Freddie Roach’s young charge destroyed then IBF super bantamweight champion, Lehlo Ledwaba within six rounds while displaying unparallel speed, power and aggression.
Even though this was fifteen years ago I remember some of the post fight water cooler comment as if it was yesterday. “Those are fists of fury! Did you see that little dude? He is breathtaking!” Pacman hasn’t looked back since. He blew over a number of future hall of fame opponents picking up steam like a typhoon from the Pacific Ocean. “Typhoon from the Pacific Ocean” is what HBO announcer Larry Merchant called Pacquiao during his first fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.
Who can forget that memorable collision, especially the first round in which Pacquiao dropped Mexican ring great three times and nearly ended one of the greatest boxing rivalries before it ever started?
Who can forget a trilogy with another Mexican ring legend Erik Morales or the look of total devastation and utter defeat in the eyes of “El Terrible” at the conclusion of their final chapter?
I was deeply saddened; I think I might’ve even shed a tear when my favorite fighter “Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya took a beating of his life from Manny which subsequently convinced him to retire. I was one of the pundits who believed Oscar was just too big and too strong for little Pacman who jumped two weight categories to administer this remarkable massacre.
I was ringside in Las Vegas when Pacman knocked out Ricky Hatton. It was one of the most spectacular and devastating knock outs I have ever seen. I literally thought Ricky was dead when he crashed on the canvas and laid there motionless for what seemed like an eternity. I couldn’t go to sleep that night pondering the brutality of sweet science and the passion it inspired deep inside my soul.
Pacquiao inspired more passion and fervor from fans next time out when he squared off against the legendary fighter from Puerto Rico, Miguel Cotto. Displaying mind over matter Manny took the best shots from bigger and stronger opponent and proceeded to dismantle him to force a stoppage in the final stanza.
I could go on and on… I’ve written more articles about Manny Pacquiao than I have boxing t-shirts.
Finally, years in the making, last May, Manny met his arch rival, American super star, Floyd Mayweather inside the squared circle. What was supposed to be the culmination of both careers and was the biggest event in boxing history, at least financially, turned out to be anticlimactic. The fight was a dud. Manny injured his shoulder and Floyd was Floyd. He boxed his way to victory and mega millions. In the sport where most go by the song of “What have you done for me lately”, fans filed a law suit against Manny Pacquiao for showing up to a fight at less than a hundred percent.
But Manny is Manny. He has earned the right to go out on his own terms. Pacquiao’s swan song is scheduled for April 9th against Timothy Bradley. Even the most devoted admirers of Pacquiao are not enthused about this fight. Why not? Not Andre Berto, Bradley is still among the elite of the division. That’s because we have already been there and done that. Pacman has already beaten Bradley twice by most accounts, even though their first encounter was judged in favor of Bradley, one of the most unjust verdicts in recent boxing history.
Still, most of us would rather see Manny pass the torch to Terrence Crawford or face another young gun like Keith Thurman who could potentially become a super star. But let’s face it; we don’t always get what we want. What we do get is to celebrate the illustrious career of the most exciting fighters to ever lace up the gloves. Thank you, Manny, thank you very much.
Contact Igor Frank via email at email@example.com or via Twitter(Fightmonger)