Yes, it seems the twilight continues for Filipino boxing icon and the only eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao.
You see, ever since he decided to continue fighting even as he was already 37 to 38 years old, writers describe him as in the twilight of his boxing career, but Manny continues to defy them.
Now at the age of 42, he fights again later this week, but not against World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., who had to withdraw because of a detached retina. Instead, Pacquiao takes on World Boxing Association welterweight champion Yuvgenis Ugas of Cuba, a last-minute replacement.
Some boxing experts are tipping him to beat Ugas, though not so many would have picked him to win against the much younger and stronger Spencer.
This reminds me of one of the thousands of online comments on Manny, describing him before as a prime fighter, who beats legends, but now is a legend beating boxers at their prime.
I believe the comment refers to Manny beating the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Oscar De la Hoya, though both past their prime, but still supposedly dangerous opponents for him. Then you can add the likes of Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, and Antonio Margarito at their prime. Maybe not so much for Margarito, but he was certainly much bigger and stronger than Manny, who completely dominated him and the rest.
Then, the common questions always asked whenever Manny decides to step into the ring again are, why is he still fighting at his age; why doesn’t’ he retire; does he need money?
These are well intentioned questions with the common fear that sooner or later, Manny will run into a hungrier, younger, and faster opponent, who will do to him what he did to Barrera and De La Hoya.
I certainly would not want to see this spectacle and even in the past years, I have been saying Manny should already retire, he has done enough, he has the money and fame and his legacy will never be duplicated. And I am sure a lot will agree with me on this, including his wife Jinkee.
But then in a television interview, where he was asked the same question, he said it is his passion for the sport that keeps him going and not the money, the same passion that makes him fight younger and undefeated boxers like Keith Thurman and Adrian Broner in the past. He is challenging himself, and that I can understand and respect.
Though that will not step me from saying this should be his last fight.
Talking about fights, I have one of my own. In late July, I tested positive for COVID-19 and am presently on home quarantine, but I remain asymptomatic even as you read this.
I was even kidding that if a lot of people now upload photos of themselves with the caption “I have the COVID-19 vaccine.” Maybe, I should come out with my own that says “I have COVID-19.”
Please do not think I am not afraid to die. I am terrified by the thought of leaving this physical world, I want to see and do a lot of more things in life topped by my biggest wish of seeing my beloved “apo” Livi grow up.
It’s just that I have long understood and accepted the fact that all of us will eventually die, in our case as seniors, sooner than later. It is what it is, right?
I came out in the open about having caught COVID, for one to show there is nothing to be ashamed of about it, and maybe to tell people it is not the end of the world.
But I will still accept your prayers, okay?