At 40-years-old, Manny Pacquiao proved that he is still one of the top welterweight boxers in the world after he dominated 29-year-old four-division champion Adrien Broner.
As far as accolades, Pacquiao has accomplished everything any boxer could ever hope for. From being the sport’s only 8-division world champion, to victories over some of the biggest names in boxing like Oscar Dela Hoya, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales to name a few, down to amassing a fortune well over 100 million dollars in fight purses alone, the Filipino legend clearly has nothing to prove.
After his impressive performance against Broner, Pacquiao is entertaining thoughts of facing young lions such as Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, Jr., Mikey Garcia, Terrence Crawford and a few other names, with Thurman being the frontrunner. These are all potentially crowd-pleasing fights that will create a huge buzz for boxing. Pacquiao has claimed that he wants to fight a couple more years in the name of his passion for boxing.
“My journey in this sport is still continuing. I’ve accomplished everything I’ve wanted to, but I also want to continue to keep my name at the top,” Pacquiao told media members in January. “Even at 40 years old, I can still show the best of Manny Pacquiao. I’m going to give the fans the speed and power that they’re used to seeing.” As long as he feels his body is still up to the task, Pacquiao said he will keep fighting.
Though I commend the Filipino legend for wanting to take on the biggest challenges and top opponents, taking on these young studs at this stage of his career isn’t only unwise, but also dangerous for his health. Pacquiao’s fighting style is to take hits and trade blows, so he can impose his aggression. And as much as Broner is a young former champ, his style and offensive abilities are nowhere close compared to the welterweight division’s elite. And so what if he beats them? It’s not as if they will add to his already storied legacy. It’s truly a no-win situation for Pacquiao. Huge risk, little gain.
If Pacquiao had Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s defensive skills, then fighting these younger names won’t be as dangerous. But then again, nobody has that kind of defensive ability and Pacquiao’s is not even close.
The fighting pride of the Philippines will pay dearly if he chooses pride over common sense. Just look at the Mayweather blueprint of how he managed the latter part of his career and hand-picked his opponents. And even if he looks at his path to greatness, those prideful, older legends who later on became feathers in his cap were all led to retirement after he dispatched of them.
Despite their disappointing first fight, truth is, the only fight fans want to see Pacquiao and Mayweather involved in is a redeeming rematch against each other. If that can’t happen, Pacquiao should just focus on helping the people of his country as a politician rather than risking his health and legacy by taking unnecessary risks.
And if he must fight someone else due to Mayweather’s reluctance to come back from retirement, he should stick to Broner-level opponents who he can look good against and yet still sell fights. Broner accomplished that perfectly with his trash talk and abrasive behavior outside the ring complemented by his lack of activity and aggression inside it. Think Andre Berto, Paulie Malignaggi or even Amir Khan if he survives Crawford. He can even explore Shawn Porter, who is a younger champ as well and used to be Pacquiao’s sparring partner and is a tough, rugged opponent. But Porter doesn’t have the type of skill of a Thurman or Crawford nor the punching power of Spence or Garcia.