Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Manny Pacquiao: One Step Closer to the Last Hurrah

By Cliff Rold

Fifteen years is a long time in life.  It’s a hell of a long time in boxing.

December 4, 1998 was over fifteen years ago. 

That was the night a raw power puncher came from behind to win the WBC and lineal Flyweight crown in Thailand.  That’s how long Manny Pacquiao has been a part of boxing’s title conversation.  This Saturday night, he will attempt to regain the WBO Welterweight belt he lost to Timothy Bradley in 2012.  There are reasons to think he will and reasons to think he won’t. 

Whatever the result, there is no avoiding the inevitable.  The last hurrah is close at hand.   At 35 years of age, he’s had a style that adds miles to the body.  Pacquiao has always been hit less than it looks like; offensive gems that last always have better defense than credited for.  He still gets hit more than fighters whose defense stands out first.

Of course, this being boxing, the last hurrah doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a career.  Too many have continued long past their last hurrah to think that. 

And we won’t know what really was the last hurrah until the whole story is written. History dictates at least that much.  Eventually, all of the great ones stop being great.  We watch as the end grown near with a wonder of when that last truly great night will be.

Roberto Duran is great proof of that.  Duran won the Lightweight title in 1972 and the Welterweight crown in 1981, his crowning achievement a win over a then-undefeated Sugar Ray Leonard. 

Rising from the ashes of “No Mas” in the rematch, a lopsided loss to Wilfred Benitez, and a shocking upset to Kirklaind Laing, Duran rebounded with a monster year in 1983.  He bested Pipino Cuevas in a veteran crossroads fight, defeated Davey Moore for the WBA belt at 154 lbs., and gave Marvin Hagler all he could handle in a competitive loss for the Middleweight crown.

When Tommy Hearns iced Duran in two rounds in 1984, it would have been easy to assume Hagler had been his last hurrah.  Middling wins and a loss to Robbie Sims followed over the next near five years.  Then, there was one last moment.  At age 38, Duran turned back the clock one last time to wrest the WBC Middleweight belt from Iran Barkley in the Fight of the Year.  There would be more notable downs than ups from there, old man battles with Vinny Pazienza and Hector Camacho and a laudable split with Jorge Castro.

Retrospect speaks clearly: everything after Barkley was epilogue.  That winter night in 1989 was his last hurrah.

Like Pacquiao, Duran began his career light on the scale and kept climbing.  Near Bantamweight in his debut, he’d best future Featherweight champion Ernesto Marcel in one of his best, forgotten wins before moving on to Lightweight and all the glory to come.  His remarkable longevity is part of what defines his greatness.

Pacquiao found longevity as well.  If, say, we look back one day and see 2012 as his last hurrah, his disputed loss to Bradley and epic fourth encounter with Marquez as the last gasps of true greatness, the longevity is still there.  It’s fair to say he wasn’t yet a great fighter when he won his first title from Chatchai Sasakul.  He was well on his way by June 2001 when he shredded Lehlo Ledwaba for a title at Jr. Featherweight.

Very few put together a decade like Pacquiao had in the 2000s.  He was still good enough to beat a tough-for-most-guys Brandon Rios like he was standing still in 2013.  There is reason to think this is still a great, if less so, fighter entering the ring.  Without a Floyd Mayweather showdown when they were appeared peak in 2010, there will always be ample debate about who the best fighter of their era was.

And Bernard Hopkins will always be there as a counter argument to both (Hopkins will have a last hurrah someday right?  Before he reaches AARP eligibility at least?)

That Pacquiao has been one of the great ones is little in doubt.

We won’t know what the end is until we see it.  And we won’t know it really was the end until it gets confirmed with further evidence later on.  This weekend, Manny Pacquiao steps in with one of the best fighters in the world with a chance to set the record straight, a chance to resume his place as a title holder, a chance to push his last hurrah down the road at least another night.

Or to have that last hurrah before our eyes.

It’s been a hell of a ride for a long time.  How much longer until the roller coaster pulls to station?

Cliff’s Notes…

So it looks like all signs are go for Roman Gonzalez to challenge Akira Yaegashi for the lineal Flyweight crown this summer.  If the summer also has a Juan Francisco Estrada-Giovani Segura clash, hardcore fight fans will have ample evidence to point to in arguing this epic era of little men as the best thing going in boxing today…Naoya Inoue is the goods and proved it with a win over Adrian Hernandez for a title at 108.  He and Kazuto Ioka just looks like a Japanese superfight in the making…For fans of big men action, Cruiserweight has delivered what Heavyweight lacked for years.  Steve Cunningham has brought those thrills north with him.  Win or lose, Cunningham is a warrior worth every salute…While it might not be stellar on paper, this weekend’s Bradley-Pacquiao undercard might have some solid action.  Let’s hope so anyways.  The first fight wasn’t exactly a thriller…Anyone who read last week’s column knows this one can close only one way: YES! YES! YES!    
 
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at
[email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by moonshineman on 04-22-2014

Pacquiao will let everyone know when he decides to retire. A hundred articles like this one make no difference.

Comment by mrjoeblive on 04-10-2014

[QUOTE=Rapid8Fire;14409813]Floyd ducked Manny by making all those accusations about steroids cause Manny dropping people. If Floyd would've just fought Pacquaio without any hesitation or blood test requirement then this would probably be a totally different article. Everyone knew Floyd could…

Comment by marvin douglas on 04-10-2014

[QUOTE=Rapid8Fire;14409813]Floyd ducked Manny by making all those accusations about steroids cause Manny dropping people. If Floyd would've just fought Pacquaio without any hesitation or blood test requirement then this would probably be a totally different article. Everyone knew Floyd could…

Comment by mathed on 04-09-2014

Time for Bradley to take this sport ovah...his time is now.

Comment by Rapid8Fire on 04-09-2014

Floyd ducked Manny by making all those accusations about steroids cause Manny dropping people. If Floyd would've just fought Pacquaio without any hesitation or blood test requirement then this would probably be a totally different article. Everyone knew Floyd could…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (33)
Top Headlines Shawn Porter: I'm Ready For Keith Thurman as Soon as Possible! Custio Clayton vs. Carlos Molina on Saunders vs. Lemieux Card Jacobs: I Saw in Golovkin's Eyes at The End, He Was a Beaten Man Wilder: Joshua Wants One More Payday Before Fighting Me Amir Khan Under Fire, Old Tweet Comes Back To Haunt Him Guillermo Jones Edges Perea For WBA Belt, Carlos Adames Wins Sergio Martinez Feels Brian Castano Should Stay Away From Lara Oscar Valdez's Manager To Meet With Top Rank, Discuss Big 2018 Constantin Bejenaru vs. Thabiso Mchunu - Undercard Information Tete's 11-Second KO of Gonya Quickest Ever in World Title Fight Kell Brook Backs Conor Benn To 'Carry The Flag' at Welterweight Joseph Parker Budges: I'll Take 35% To Fight Anthony Joshua Max Ornelas Gets Lopsided Win at WinnaVegas Casino Photos: Julian Williams Beats a Very Game Ishe Smith in Las Vegas Carl Frampton: The Team Can Decide My Next Opponent Gilberto Ramirez: I Must Be Better With Ahmed Than in Hart Fight Eleider Alvarez Gives The Latest on Adonis Stevenson Situation Kovalev Explains Why Leaving Jackson Was The Right Move Frank Warren: Frampton At Windsor Park Coming Next Summer Barker: Wilder Will Have Tough Time With Joshua's Skill Set Video: Julian Williams on Ishe Smith Win, Reacts To Trout, More Photos: Anthony Dirrell Edges Denis Douglin in Tough Bout Video: Austin Trout Talks Canelo-Golovkin, Williams, Hurd, More Video: Trainer Breaks Down Julian Williams Win Over Ishe Smith Bellew: I Can 100% Beat Parker, No Way Can He Deal With Joshua! De La Hoya: I Won't Chase McGregor, The Challenge Was Made! Mike Gavronski Wins WBA Regional Title, Beats Hernandez Oscar Vasquez, Gabriel Flores, Bruno Escalante Win in Reno Bryant Cruz Stops Luna: Micah, Lawson Pick Up Wins Deontay Wilder - From Mild-Mannered To Motormouth Ishe Smith: I Fought My Ass Off, The Judges Saw What They Saw De La Hoya: Canelo vs. Golovkin Rematch Will "Definitely Happen" Julian Williams Wins Tough Decision Over Ishe Smith Julian Williams vs. Ishe Smith - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Lionell Thompson Drops, Shocks Earl Newman With Points Win Tugstsogt Nyambayar Gets Off The Floor, Decisions Dela Torre De La Hoya on McGregor: It Took Mayweather 10, I Only Need 2! Photos: Oscar De La Hoya Foundation Annual Turkey Giveaway Frampton: That Got The Cobwebs Off, Now I Want The Big Guys! Tomasz Adamek Decisions Fred Kassi Over Ten Rounds
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement