Senate race loss may push Pacquiao back to boxing: analyst

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

An analyst argues that if fighting congressman Manny Pacquiao loses in the senatorial elections or if undefeated American boxer Floyd Mayweather goes out of retirement, Sunday's match was probably not Pacquiao's last.

"If he loses [the senatorial race], he will become idle, there will be something to scratch, he’s gonna feel the boxing itch. And I do believe that if Floyd Mayweather returns to the fight game, Manny Pacquiao may want to revisit this pronouncement that he is retired in boxing," sports analyst Ed Tolentino said on [email protected] on Monday.

He added that if one were to conduct a survey among members of Team Pacquiao, it would show that even his core team does not believe this was his last.

Tolentino also observed that Filipinos' reception of what was touted to be the People's Champ's last fight was "lukewarm" because the match was just a "preservative fight."

"The Bradley fight [was] meant to preserve him for something bigger. [It was] something meant to test if Manny Pacquiao still has what it takes," he said.

If it was Pacquiao's last fight, Tolentino said many people feel that Sunday's match was anti-climactic.

He insisted that there is unfinished business between Pacquiao and Mayweather that must be settled before the Filipino boxing champion retires.

"[The people] believe and I do believe that if there was one fight that would provide Pacquiao a fitting finale, that is a showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr."

Tolentino does not discount the possibility of both boxers coming out of retirement for a grand face-off, saying "weirder things have happened in sports," and that it would certainly add to the drama.

Manny the sports legend

Tolentino said Sunday's match saw not the vintage Pacquiao, but "a Manny Pacquiao who was judicious, more economical in his punches, but still a very effective Manny Pacquiao."

He said no matter the result of the fight against Bradley, Pacquiao's excellence was already "etched in stone."

"Regardless of this fight with Bradley, people will remember not this fight, but will remember the bouts with Eric Morales, the fights with Juan Manuel Marquez, the day he took home the Oscar—Oscar dela Hoya."

From a slugger who went all-out on offense and let loose on defense, he commended Pacquiao and Roach on the fighter's style evolution "from cave man to Einstein." He also noted Pacquiao's rise from personal downfalls.

"It all makes for a great story, but something only Manny Pacquiao can author," he said.

Whatever Pacquiao does at this point, Tolentino said, his position in the "Pantheon of Greats" is already secured, and only the Mayweather re-match can add to his legacy.

He also remains confident that a "100% healthy" Pacquiao will come alive in that match.