PACQUIAO WATCH: Shot in the arm

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 March) – With retirement from boxing now a very distinct possibility, probably no later than 2013, Manny Pacquiao needs to close out his illustrious and phenomenal career with flourish.

A one-for-the-ages fight with archrival Floyd Mayweather should be the loud bang to end his career as demanded by boxing fans all over the world.

But alas, Floyd is not obliging and perhaps never will.

So Pacquiao will have to pick up fights, credible fights, to keep fan interests at high levels and the cash register ringing.

On June 9, he faces undefeated American light welterweight Timothy Bradley.

Coming from two lackluster fights in a row, Pacquiao needs to demolish Bradley in a manner only he is known for. He needs to register a quick victory.

Pacquiao has not recorded a knockout win in two and a half years although he came close to stopping Antonio Margarito. He was close to losing his third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. His last four fights lasted the distance. Ironically, these victories came when he was deeply embroiled in Philippine politics. One wonders if his immediate past performances are directly related to his job as member of Philippine Congress.

Fans may be missing the old Manny Pacquiao who rams his opponents like a bullet train but it looks like he may be able to give them what he has been giving them since he broke into the consciousness of global sport fans. Short of it, people will begin to wonder if Pacquiao still has the desire or he is just piling up retirement money in preparation for his bigger political ambitions.

Notice how Pacquiao is no longer invoking dedication for country in his last two or three fights.

Yes, everybody now knows he is doing it for his honor and future because he had already served his country that privilege.

In short, it is his payback time.

Unless it is Floyd who can do him another defeat, Pacquiao cannot afford to pick opponents that have real shot at earning the distinction of handing him his third career loss.

Bradley, despite the hype-building by promoters, is not within Pacquiao’s league who is a sui generic, to borrow a famous Latin phrase from the ongoing trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. The embattled chief justice was once a house guest of Pacquiao when the latter inducted the current officers of the General Santos-South Cotabato chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in July last year.

That aside, Pacquiao really, really need to knockout Bradley and not give the latter a chance to even prove competition.

That will be a shot in the arm for Pacquiao who is said to be losing ground in the popularity department.

(Edwin G. Espejo writes for