Manny Pacquiao: The final chapters of a storied boxing career

By Sports Desk August 22, 2021

Have we seen Manny Pacquiao fight for the final time?

The Filipino legend announced he will rest, relax and reconsider his future plans after surprisingly losing to Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas. Time, however, is not on Pacquiao's side.

The eight-division world champion, who had been due to fight Errol Spence Jr but instead faced a late stand-in, turns 43 in December. It may well be the end of the road for one of boxing's biggest superstars who, after 72 bouts and numerous titles, has little left to achieve between the ropes.

He has demonstrated age is just a number in recent years, producing some outstanding wins ever since losing in the 'fight of the century' against long-time rival Floyd Mayweather Jr in May 2015.

If it is all over, Pacquiao bows out as one of the all-time greats, an undoubted national hero who continued to produce when so many thought his best days were long behind him.


THE LAST HURRAH...OR NOT

Nearly a year after the long-overdue Mayweather fight, Pacquiao returned to action to face a familiar foe in what he claimed beforehand would be his boxing swansong.

"I'm so happy to be hanging up the gloves after this fight because of what I have done," he told the media ahead of facing Timothy Bradley for a third time. "I'm sure I will be sad after that fight. That's life."

Pac-Man had his eyes on becoming a senator in the Philippines at the time, but did not look beyond Bradley, who had won their first meeting via a controversial split-decision verdict, back in 2012.

Pacquiao had prevailed in a 2014 rematch and would also come out on top in the final episode of the trilogy, dropping his opponent twice on his way to a points triumph.  

That was meant to be that, according to the man himself, except before the end of 2016 he was back in action again. Jessie Vargas was no match as Mayweather watched his former opponent from close quarters at ringside, adding fuel to talk of a rematch.

Victory secured the WBO welterweight title for Pacquiao, who demonstrated that despite being just shy of his 38th birthday, he still had plenty left to give. "He's not done fighting yet," said trainer Freddie Roach – and he was right.
 

AN ALMIGHTY UPSET

Jeff Horn was due to be nothing more than a stepping-stone to bigger things. The Australian nearly missed his big opportunity – Pacquiao at one point seemed set to face former gym-mate Amir Khan instead – but had the benefit of home advantage. It was about all most experts felt the underdog had going in his favour ahead of the bout in Brisbane.

However, Suncorp Stadium witnessed the mother of all upsets in July 2017, in part thanks to some questionable scoring.

Horn did more than just surpass pre-fight expectations just by making it to the final bell, though. He showed a willingness to stand and trade with a legendary name, as well as coming through a ninth-round storm that looked at one stage certain to sweep him away.

He finished strongly too, but it was still a surprise to most when the challenger was declared a unanimous winner on all three cards. The verdict raised questions over the judges' scoring, as well as Pacquiao's future in the sport.

The WBO conducted a review into the outcome at the behest of the Philippines government, but a secondary check only vindicated the original outcome. Was Pacquiao done?

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