Manny Pacquiao Must Hang Up Gloves with Loss to Brandon Rios

Benjamin KleinContributor IIIJune 25, 2013

Jun. 9, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Manny Pacquiao smiles in the fourth round against Timothy Bradley Jr (not pictured) during a welterweight championship bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A third consecutive loss must send Manny Pacquiao into retirement.

There’s no way Pacquiao can continue to schedule fights if he loses to Brandon Rios in China, where the two are scheduled to take the ring in November.

About one year ago, Pacquiao took on Timothy Bradley for the Welterweight title. It was a great bout that was extremely close until the very end, but only one of the three judges was convinced that Pacquiao was the winner. The other two gave the match to Bradley, who took home the belt.

Six months later, Pacquiao attempted to avenge his title loss with a fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. Looking to be crowned the Champion of the Decade, neither Pacquiao nor Marquez was very dominant early on. It wasn’t until late in the sixth round that things got interesting.

Pacquiao had Marquez backing up against the ropes and in a position where he could connect with a potential match-ending punch. But Marquez anticipated it and clocked Pacquiao, knocking him out. It was a brilliant move by Marquez and he deserved to win for the way he performed.

Pac-Man hasn’t won a fight since 2011. Bradley and Marquez got the best of him last season. This year, the only fight he’ll have is against Rios. There’s a very real chance that he won’t win a fight in more than two years, which is quite a long time for someone who used to be so dominant in the sport of boxing.

Freddie Roach doesn’t want to see Pacquiao’s legacy go down the drain by trying to extend his career further, should he lose. Roach has already told ESPN that if Pacquiao loses to Rios, he’ll be the bearer of bad news:

If he loses, I will tell him to retire. If you lose three in a row it’s your time.

He’s up there in age. I’ve got to keep a close eye on him. It’s part of my job to protect him. I will do the right thing.

It’s come to the point where some of the world’s best don’t even want to fight him anymore. Dan Rafael of ESPN reported in May that Marquez and Bradley turned down offers to fight Pac-Man. One of Pacquiao’s advisers said that after the two declined, Rios was the next in line.

How far down the line is Pacquiao going to have to go if he loses to Rios, too?

While Pacquiao has had a great career and is one of the best boxers of all-time, he needs to understand that he may be taking the ring for the last time when he takes on Rios in China in a few months.

Maybe that’ll give Pacquiao more motivation and incentive to make it the fight of his life. And you never know, it wouldn’t be shocking if Pacquiao came out victorious over Rios. If that happens, who knows where his career will go.