Manny Pacquiao would be wise to avoid getting in the ring against Juan Manuel Marquez again.
It was back in December that Marquez knocked out the Pac-Man in the sixth round, his first win against Pacquiao after he had drawn the first fight and lost the next two. Social media went ablaze as people reacted to what had been a massive upset.
Almost immediately after the fight, fans were calling for a fifth fight between the two. The hype has died down a bit in the ensuing months, the flames of which will be stoked again with the news that Bob Arum will be speaking with Marquez regarding yet another rematch. According to Michael Woods of ESPNNewYork.com, Arum said:
"My feeling is both men are open to fighting each other," he continued.
And is the tentative plan still to hold that bout outside the U.S., in a place where the taxman won't help himself to as large a chunk of revenue? "It's all numbers, man," he said. How much can be generated outside the States will be compared to how much would be generated here, and then it will be clearer if it is worth it to try and save on taxes.
And, if Marquez balks, and doesn't want to fight Manny next, what is Plan B for Pacman? "My job as a promoter is to make that fight happen," Arum said. "If I can't, and I don't believe I can't, then we'll figure out alternatives. But not till I exhaust every option."
The financial allure of a fifth fight is quite strong.
Other than that, there doesn't look to be a reason for somebody like Pacquiao to want another fight with Marquez. He's already gotten the better of Marquez on two occasions; thus, there's nothing really left to prove. One punch does not cancel out the previous three fights.
If Marquez and Pacquaio do in fact fight in 2013, it will be the third time the two have fought in as many years. Promoters had lighting in a bottle with Marquez's knockout. Few could have predicted that outcome, and even fewer should be envisioning a fight as exciting the next time around.
From the perspective of Pacquiao, how much longer will money be a motivation? He's already made more than enough to lift comfortably for at least two lifetimes. Sure, he'd be turning down quite a bit of cash.
Pacquiao, though, has built himself an empire that goes beyond just the ring. He's got a clothing line with Nike, has made appearances alongside Jimmy Kimmel and made himself a national hero in his native Philippines.
Pacquiao is only 34 years old, which means he could still realistically fight for another four or five years. That age doesn't do justice to the mileage on his body. He's looked very old in the ring, especially with the defeats to Marquez and Timothy Bradley.
Fighters always have problems knowing when to hang up the gloves, and generally by the time they realize their career is over, it's too late. Muhammad Ali is the best example. He's almost universally regarded as the best of all time, but the blows he took late in his career cost him dearly down the line.
There are far too many boxers like Ali who have been left as a shell of their former selves because of the punishment they have withstood.
The Parkinson's threat has been dismissed almost across the board. That was, however, a very real scare as to how Pacquiao will have to live his life should he hang on too long.
Pacquiao is a great fighter and will be remembered as such when his career does end. Nothing he does in the ring in the coming years will change that. With his legacy intact, the Pac-Man should ensure that his body and mind are just as strong.