It’s evident that Manny Pacquiao is at the tail end of an accomplished boxing career. How he ends it depends on which he chooses — fight to further his legacy or for a bigger paycheck.
For boxing analyst Ed Tolentino, Pacquiao seems to be seeing mixed signals.
“Kasi if he’s after legacy, you go for the big guns like Terence Crawford, iyong magagaling talaga,” said Tolentino, a guest on DZMM’s sports program "Fastbreak" on Saturday.
“Pero 'pag nakikita mo iyong balita na Conor McGregor, ano ito? Circus ito. Pera ba or legacy?”
Tolentino was referring to a recent report indicating that Pacquiao has pursued a fight with the mixed martial arts star.
Tolentino believes this is not the way to go if Pacquiao wants to be remembered as a boxing great.
“Kung habol mo ay legacy you go for the big guns and end the career with a victory over a well-known fighter. Pero kung Conor McGregor, ang tingin ng marami parang pera ang dating,” he said.
Pacquiao last fought against a bigger and younger fighter in Jeff Horn last July. He lost via a controversial decision, in the process yielding the world welterweight crown.
Tolentino said it was clear that Pacquiao had a hard time fighting off Horn’s rough tactics that he looked like a shell of his former self.
“Nakita mo naman si Jeff Horn ni walang karapatang dumistansya ang mga iyan kay Manny Pacquiao, pero nakita mo iyong bata hindi na siya nirerespeto. Kasi ang tingin nila hindi na ito ang dating Manny Pacquiao. Ang tingin nila this is a guy hiding behind a legendary reputation,” he said.
Tolentino said maintaining his focus was an issue for Pacquiao.
“Mismong si Freddie Roach ang nagsabi, iba na rin ang priority ni Manny. Kaya nga ang sabi niya, quit boxing if you cannot be 100% focused on it,” he said.
Looking back at Pacquiao's career, Tolentino believes he could have accomplished more if he concentrated on boxing.
"Kung di siya pumasok sa politika and all those extracurricular activities, sa tingin ko marami pang na-conquer na mountain si Manny. Isipin mo na lang if you're trying to scale the Himalayas, di ba masmadali kung wala kang excess baggage?" Tolentino said.
Boxing promoter Bob Arum has already announced that Pacquiao is already planning to make his ring return this April.
While Arum has yet to set an exact fight date for the 8-division world champion, he assured that Pacquiao will take part in an intriguing match.
“Manny doesn’t want to fight in an undercard and he wants an interesting fight (when he returns),” he said.
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