Monday, December 10, 2012

Manny Pacquiao. Time to quit

Idle thought: Most everybody has seen the pic of Mitt Romney with his jaw having dropped to the floor, while his lovely wife Ann sat beside him grimacing in horror. So where was that photo taken? Ringside at the Pacquiao--Marquez fight in Vegas, or watching the election results coming in a month ago? Either way, I'm thinking Mitt can sympathize with Manny. They both got knocked out by Latinos. Sorry, couldn't resist. Onward...

So there was Pacquiao, face down on the canvas at the end of the 6th round, after having taken a thundering right hand from Marquez. He was out colder than a cucumber in the Yukon. Once he became coherent again, he and Marquez were talking about having yet another fight. This is getting to be like Rocky movies. Granted, they're highly entertaining, but the sequels never seem to end. How many times are too much?

Pacquiao's been boxing professionally for 17 years. That's a mighty long time in that sport. He's won hundreds of millions of dollars and garnered several world championships along the way. Yes, there have been others that have hung around, sometimes until they're AARP eligible, looking for one more shot at glory (and another big payday), but they don't seem to have anything else to do. Manny does.

He's a congressman in his native Phillipines and a national hero. Some say even becoming President of the Phillipines could be in his future. You never know how those things might work out. Hey, he's probably got more C-notes laying around than Imelda Marcos had pairs of shoes, and look how far she went. For that matter, if Newt Gingrich had 6-pack abs, could float like a butterly and sting like a bee, and had played a little rope-a-dope with Mitt, he might have done better in the primaries. You never know, but I digress.

But that's the thing with Pacquiao. In his previous fight before Marquez, he was decisioned by Timothy Bradley. Manny lost. The enduring image of this recent fight with Marquez is Pacquiao getting cold-cocked and landing on his face. That's two in a row. How that affects his status as a national hero in the Phillipines is a question you'd have to ask the Filipino populace, but it certainly can't be helpful. So what happens if Manny gets yet another rematch with Marquez and winds up face down again while the whole world is watching? He'd make a few million more bucks, but his national hero status, much less any aspirations of ever becoming President, would take a serious hit, no pun intended.

(Another idle thought -- if during one of the debates, Mitt had bob and weaved his way over to Barack's podium and dropped Obama face down on the red carpet with a thundering right hand of his own, we might have a different guy in the White House for the next four years. You never know. Bet you'd have ponied up $59.95 to see the possibility of THAT on pay-per-view.)

Regardless, heroes become heroes because they were winners, not losers. Manny was indeed a great champion in the past, but he needs to get out of the ring before his image suffers any further, both as a boxer and whatever political future he may aspire to in his homeland. The ever-present younger fighters coming up from around the world don't care about what he used to be, nor will they be the slightest bit intimidated. He's just another notch on their belts waiting to happen. Look at what happened to Joe Louis, arguably the greatest heavyweight champion of all time. He held the undisputed title for 12 years, but he hung around too long. Though many still consider him to be a hero, and indeed he was, given the different times back then, he eventually turned into a bum in the boxing ring, getting turned into not much more than a punching bag for upcoming fighters. In 1951 Louis found himself with his face a mess, thoroughly beaten up, and flat on his back while a guy named Rocky Marciano stood over him in the 8th round. The Brown Bomber didn't know when to quit, and he paid the price -- in the ring and in real life.

The same could fairly be said of Muhammed Ali, who others consider to be the greatest heavyweight in history. He hung around too long. In 1980, after a 2 year "retirement", at the age of 38, he decided to come back and fight Larry Holmes, his former sparring partner, who at 30 was at his peak. Over the course of 10 rounds, Ali landed less than 10 punches, while Holmes landed hundreds. Ali was beaten and bruised, and couldn't answer the bell for the 11th round. Some have suggested the horrific beating he took in that fight might have contributed to the onset of Parkinson's disease which Ali suffers from terribly to this day. Sadly, he didn't know when to quit either.

The list is long of guys that hung around too long and paid a heavy price for it.

Here's hoping Manny doesn't become one of them. It's time for him to hang up the gloves and get back to being a national hero while he still can.

And who knows? President Pacquiao has a nice ring to it. Hope he doesn't get carried away with the shoes, though......

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