By Frank Warren
Nigh on 18 years after winning his first world title, Manny Pacquiao was at it again at the Thomas and Mack Center on Saturday night.
No spring chicken at 37, but the Senator certainly still possesses a spring in his step and had enough left in the tank to comfortably negotiate the threat of Jessie Vargas, who is no slouch.
It did look pretty much game over for the PacMan when his bid to inflict a blemish on the record of Floyd Mayweather came to nothing.
He looked a faded force on that Las Vegas night in May 2015, perhaps hampered by his troublesome shoulder that later required surgery.
With his shoulder back in full working order, Pacquiao got back to work and completed a best of three with Timothy Bradley before setting about reinstating himself at boxing’s top table with yet another world title.
Talk of his demise was clearly premature and victory over Vargas has opened a number of lucrative doors.
The money fights are still out there and very few fight fans would turn up their nose should he be put in the ring with any of Terence Crawford, Errol Spence jnr or even the great Vasyl Lomachenko.
Pacquiao says he doesn’t mind who he fights next and is happy to let public opinion dictate the decision, but you can’t help thinking there is one fight he craves above all others.
It might not be so appealing to us punters second time around, but I am sure he would love the opportunity to set the record straight against Mayweather.
The Money Man developed the happy knack, as his career progressed, of ensuring the cards were stacked in his favour when opponents were awarded the honour of sharing a ring with him.
He always afforded them the minimum preparation time by generally letting the chosen one know roughly six weeks out from the fight and rarely took on contenders riding the crest of a wave.
When he finally signed up to face Pacquiao, he probably suspected he was spent.
If it happens again, this time Pacquiao would be the active fighter with a title to his name. Would this be of appeal to the ego-driven Mayweather?
I predict, as always, that money will talk and there is still huge money on the table for this fight. Just not as much as last time.
I am quite sure the fight will happen and there will be a huge appetite for that sort of income. It would be a harder sell and the question is whether the American fight public would pay $100 for it?
The one thing that won’t change is the style of the fight. Unless Pacquiao changes his style and tactics he won’t win,whereas Mayweather would do what he always does.
Pacquiao was able to return in such a fashion and steer himself into such an enviable position because he keeps himself in such tremendous shape at all times. It is something I am always banging on about but, unfortunately, it is not something all fighters pay heed to.
Mayweather is the same and, even in so-called retirement, he still looks in good nick.
Will he be tempted to push on to 50 not out? The plaudits flying in the direction of Pacquiao might just prick his ego enough to once again want to prove who really is top dog on the Strip.
Even though I knew it was coming, it was still a sad moment when I saw that Ovill McKenzie had finally conceded defeat on his desire to continue with his boxing career.
We are all upset for the Upsetter, but the long-term health of boxers must always remain paramount and when a heart condition was detected the end of the road was reached.
Ovill is a true warrior who would have happily fought on, but medical tests are there for a reason and, in this instance, it is to protect a fighter from himself.
He is a gentleman who made good in a tough sport where he suffered his ups and downs and it is such a shame that he hasn’t made his exit as a world champion.
It is the least he deserved after, in his last fight, clearly outpointing Victor Ramirez in Buenos Aires, only for the bout to be scored a draw.
It was a pleasure to work with Ovill and his trainer Martin Bowers, who did such a great job with him. I just hope such a fine personality and strong role model is not lost to the sport for good.
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