BOXING OPINION: 'Time for Pacman to call it quits'
When Manny Pacquiao weighs up his future over the next few days he'd do well to watch the final brutal moments of yesterday's shock defeat - as hard it may be, writes Marvin France...
As the Filipino fury lay lifeless, face-first on the canvas having walked straight into a vicious right hand from Juan Manuel Marquez, it was hard not to think the sun had set on one of the great boxing careers. And if those harrowing scenes aren’t enough to convince Pacquiao that his time is up, then nothing will.
His fiercest supporters will no doubt argue that for most of the fight he looked as sharp as he had in three years.
Yet when you examine his work over the last 12 months it paints a picture of a man past his best and as history shows, once a boxer starts heading down that slippery slope of decline very rarely do they fight their way back.
In his last three bouts, ‘Pacman’ has had a disputed win over Marquez, a controversial defeat to Timothy Bradley, which he should have won - although, that he struggled to put away the solid, but by no means world class American was a warning sign in itself. And now this - dropped cold by an opponent who as good as the Mexican was, is still six years his senior.
So what are the chances of Pacquiao calling it quits? With so much money on the table for a fifth showdown with Marquez or a much-awaited clash with Floyd Mayweather, probably slim to none.
Pacquiao and Mayweather have been haggling for years over a potential mega-fight and who knows if the latest result will help or hinder negotiations. But with Pacquiao clearly past his prime, that bout now seems much less appealing.