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The National Is All Over Manny Pacquiao’s Farewell Fight

April 8th, 2016 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Boxing, The National

Manny Pacquiao says his third go-round with Timothy Bradley, at the MGM Grand tomorrow night, will be his last fight.

It pretty much is time for the Filipino fighter, 37, to go, though a re-run of a re-run with a middling opponent is not exactly a Fight of the Century Part Dieu exit from the stage.

And there’s this: Pacquiao is the kind of up-from-the-depths boxer, long on toughness but short on education, who seems unable to hang on to his money. Thus, do not rule him out as a serial “making a comeback” guy.

Muhammad Ali made a second career out of retiring and coming back, and given his physical challenges over the past 25 years, he probably should have stayed away after the first (or second or third) time he retired.

At my former newspaper, The National, editors are keenly aware that Pacquiao is Topic 1 for Filipino fans, and the UAE has about 500,000 natives of the Philippines living and working there.

So, the coverage has been thorough, just how we like it, and here are three pieces worth reading, from The National’s leading boxing authorities.

Here is Jon Turner’s “one of the greatest” homage to Manny. It traces Pacquiao’s career, notes how more than one of his defeats was controversial and seems to settle on Manny’s destruction of Ricky Hatton in 2009 as one of the highlights of his career. For certain, it all but ended Hatton’s career, which had been closely followed by British fight fans.

Then we have this piece, from John McAuley, based on a one-on-one interview with Bob Arum, Manny’s promoter.

Arum says Pacquiao made a statement with his 2008 knockout of Oscar De La Hoya, the “fight that opened everybody’s eyes”, and adds that the man who followed with victories over Hatton and Miguel Cotto “was as good as I’ve ever seen a fighter on the world stage”.

Arum certainly has had a nice ride with Manny, here in the twilight of both men’s careers.

Perhaps the most interesting of the pieces in The National over the past week is this one by Steve Luckings, a fight aficionado who takes a contrarian view on Pacquiao’s legacy, suggesting “an unsavory smell lingers” over the Filipino’s career.

Luckings wonders how Pacquiao managed to take his knockout power with him as he climbed from the lightest weight categories all the way to super welterweight, gaining half-again his body weight along the way. He notes how Pacquiao steadily resisted “Olympic-style” drug testing, an issue that was a deal-killer for years as attempts were made to get Floyd Mayweather and Pacquiao into the same ring.

Luckings suggests Pacquaio’s “champion at eight weight classes” statistic is misleading because several of those world titles came in fights for vacant championships. And adds that Pacquiao failed the “ultimate test to secure his legacy” when Mayweather defeated him comfortably last year.

So, yes, the drill at The National is to surround a Pacquiao fight, and that has been done this week.

Have a look at the linked stories, and please note additional coverage, if you need more Manny in your life.

This is going to be his last go-round, remember?


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