By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
LENNOX LEWIS believes Manny Pacquiao can bounce back from his KO by Juan Manuel Marquez and regain his place at the top of the world.
The defeat was the eight-division world champion’s second on the bounce after he lost on a split decision to American Timothy Bradley in June.
There are calls for the great Filipino, 34, to call it a day because he has nothing to prove in a sport where he is a true legend.
But he has vowed to carry on and Lewis, the British former undisputed world heavyweight champion, is backing him.
The retired Lewis said: “It depends on how Pacquiao reacts to the loss.
“Is he a broken man or can he admit he made a mistake in the ring and build on that?
“A loss can make you look at yourself in a way that victory cannot. It gives you a feeling that inspires you to be better.
“Gladiators need to experience setbacks because if you can come back from them it shows just how great you are.”
One person who disagrees with Lewis is Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee, who wants him to quit the ring after 17 years as a professional fighter.
She said of his sixth-round KO in Las Vegas earlier this month: “It’s the first time I’ve seen him like that, lying on the canvas, and I was scared.
“I began screaming and crying. I know he is still capable of fighting, but, for me, there is nothing for him to prove. He already has eight world title belts and he can retire at any time. I want him to stop now, but he is the only one who has the last say.
“Boxers risk their lives and some end up in wheelchairs. I don’t want that to happen to Manny – I want him to finish.”
Pacquiao has dropped to sixth place in one list of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighters in which Floyd Mayweather Jnr is top.
Meanwhile, someone who has called it a day is top American TV boxing analyst Larry Merchant, who retired at the age of 81 last weekend.
Merchant never minced his words in post-fight interviews in the ring and was at his best last year when speaking with Mayweather.
The fighter made disparaging remarks about Merchant, who replied on air: “If I was 50 years younger, I would kick your ass!”