Manny Pacquiao: Are His Days in Boxing Numbered?Written by Leroy Cleveland
Boxing superstar and WBO Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao recently hinted to MindaNews.com that boxing conflicts with his new
-found dedication to the Catholic faith. And while his desire to seek and spread righteousness may be the primary reason he exits the sport early, it certainly won't be the only one.
According to comments translated by MindaNews.com (via USA Today), Pacquiao told reporters at a military ceremony in the Philippines, "It's not right that I share God's word and at the same time hurt other people."
"I've gained more than enough blessings these past years so I think it's time for me to return the favor,"Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao, who recently agreed to become an ambassador for the Catholic Church, also announced he'd decided to stop living a life that was full of vices, including womanizing, and planned to sell his holdings in a casino and do away with his collection of nearly 1,000 fighting roosters and cock-fighting altogether.
Will we see the last of Manny Pacquiao in a boxing ring on June 9th?
To the dismay of Manny's most ardent fans and most boxing loyalists worldwide, key indicators show its a real possibility.
Manny's mother, Dionesia, has purportedly made no secret she wants her son to stop boxing for fear he'll get hurt. After her son's victory over a much bigger Antonio Margarito in November 2010, Dionesia's health became a topic discussion following her presumed panic attack during the bout.
"It is her second time at ringside and her second time in the hospital," Roach said.
A devout family man, the legendary Filipino sensation is likely to consider his mother's wishes and the impact his continuance in boxing will have on her psychological and physical well-being when or if he decides to retire or continue fighting.
As "Man of the Decade," Manny Pacquiao was chosen to be the cover in People's Asia magazine for the special "People of the Year"
(December 2011-January 2012)
Last August, Freddie Roach hinted his prized pugilist may quit boxing all together in 2012 to focus on his political career. Manny Pacquiao was elected to congress in May 2010 and, despite looking fully focused and engaged in his preparations for Juan Manuel Marquez, he yearned to be back in Congress.
Roach told BBC, "After the first couple of days of training Manny came up to me and said 'I miss my job', and I said 'you're at your job', and he said 'no, I miss Congress."
"We are going to lose Manny Pacquiao to politics, for sure," Roach added. "It's just a matter of time."
Last summer, several Filipino sources reported that Manny Pacquiao would likely leave his congressional position in the legislature to become the next governor of the province Sarangani, a more-demanding position that would seemingly enable him to work more closely with the public. The gubernatorial election will take place in 2013 and, as early as last summer, some stated Manny would retire from boxing this year in order to start campaigning.
In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan last fall, Manny Pacquiao and his promoter, Bob Arum, discussed the fight legend's future in politics.
"By the year 2013, he'll be a governor of Sarangani province, hopefully," said Arum.
Arum added, "Being a governor, it's a lot more time consuming than being a congressman and so he's going to have to devote himself to governing a province and then of course, this boxing is just a means, for at least as I see it, for the end game".
And Manny Pacquiao, himself, discussed the importance of being a good public servant and gave insight into where his new endeavors may lie:
"Being a public servant, this is a serious job, not like a boxer, you're entertaining people. But this --this politics issues, it's a serious, you know, you're taking care of the problems of the -- of those people who are needing your help.
And -- and I'm serious to serve them honestly and to help them, added Pacquiao."
But Manny Pacquiao's political aspirations don't stop at governor and indications are he has an eye on the presidency, possibly in 2022. When Piers Morgan suggested a possible run for the highest office in the Philippines, the Filipino star didn't, by any means, rule out the possibility.
Incidentally, a Filipino citizen must be at least 40 years of age before she/he can run for president. Manny will turn 40 in December 2018.
Marketability and Money
Some argue that Manny Pacquiao's financial worth is far below what it seemingly should be given his earnings the past five years and that his alleged mis-use of finances and unyielding generosity will force him to fight at least another two years. But, in stark contrast, others point to his sizzling popularity and assert Manny Pacquiao, like Michael Jordan, will be able to generate tremendous revenue long after his career as a professional athlete ends.
A cultural icon, Manny Pacquiao - as a product spokesperson - is in high-demand all over the world. He has already endorsed numerous products including detergents, medicines, foods, beverages, garments and telecommunications gadgets for notable companies including giants Nike, Hennessy, Hewlett Packard and Umagang Kay Ganda.
Given his immense popularity worldwide and his influence as an athlete, statesman and humanitarian, boxing is far from Pacquiao's lone source for comfortable income.
Pacquiao vs Mayweather
The potential for boxing to showcase the biggest fight ever has never looked so grim. And while previous reports slated 2013 as Pacquiao's presumed exit from boxing, the latest developments may signal an earlier departure.
Skeptics assert Pacquiao's comments and actions are merely tactics, and that he's following a carefully conceived script devised by Arum and/or Roach in an effort to coax Team Mayweather into dropping his demands and signing on the dotted line right away to salvage his mega pay day. Roach and Arum are known for their verbal warfare and cunning antics.
Only time will tell if Pacquiao is bluffing but, given his latest comments and actions, many would find it difficult to believe a man of Pacquiao's character would use the Catholic Church in a ploy to ruse Team Mayweather.
Is Manny Pacquiao retiring soon? The answer is not yet known but all roads seem to point in that direction.