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Thursday, November 30, 2023

A lasting legacy

The split-decision victory of 40-year-old Manny Pacquiao over unbeaten welterweight champion Keith Thurman of the United States has lifted up for the Filipino boxing icon what many describe as properly a lasting legacy.

Pacquiao, 10 years Thurman’s senior, entered the ring Sunday (Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena), for his 71st professional fight against Thurman’s 30th. Many have noted that Pacquiao, the only person to become an eight-division boxing champion, has fought almost as many fights in Las Vegas—21—as Thurman has fought anywhere.

Former champion Shane Mosley, also of the United States, who lost to Pacquiao in a unanimous decision, also at the MGM Grand Garden ring eight years ago, had gone his way through the crush of family and friends, among others clogging Pacquiao’s dressing room soon after the bout to congratulate the Filipino, said it pertinently with this line “Manny was just phenomenal tonight. This was great for boxing.”

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, minutes after the victory, expressed the sentiments of many of the 106 plus million Filipinos when he said “Although his opponent, Thurman, is way younger than [he is], our pound-for-pound King did not show any signs of intimidation as he embodied what a Filipino spirit is all about—a fighter.”

Many are asking him, even dauntlessly suggesting, that Pacquiao should now consider retiring from the ring as Father Time may soon unforgivingly catch up with him, which he courageously ridiculed when he exchanged jabs, straight rights, hooks and whatever against a much younger opponent earlier on this week.

Freddie Roach himself, among boxing’s most open person, has talked on the record, the man who has seen Pacquiao enter the ring moving and boxing like a 25-year-old and leave it, while shuffling with the legs of a winner, displaying the frame of a breathless, bone-weary 50-year-old.

Roach, who has been with Pacquiao for 18 years now, put it crisply, “Me and Manny, we’re going to have a long talk. I want to let everything settle down. But then we will talk. One on one. Being honest, completely honest, with each other.”

A forkful indeed. After all, Pacquiao has shown determination, which is very Filipino, and, with his unrivaled record, a lasting legacy.

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