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Boxing | International

More pressure on Pacquiao



Media commentators in the Philippines are putting pressure on Manny Pacquiao to retire.

One even compared his situation to that of Parkinson's disease sufferer Muhammad Ali.

Pacquiao, who turns 34 next Monday, has vowed to fight on. But many suspect that nearly 18 years of professional boxing are now taking their toll on the man once seen by many as the world's finest fighter, pound-for-pound.

But he was knocked out by Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas last Saturday, suffering his second consecutive defeat this year.

"Pacquiao got hit hard but in the end, he was conquered by Father Time after it turned out he could no longer take a solid punch," wrote sports columnist Recah Trinidad in the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper.

Pacquiao, who fought his way out of poverty and is now immensely wealthy, lost his WBO welterweight title to Timothy Bradley in June.

TV analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz said that while Pacquiao wants a shot at redeeming himself, there was always the danger that too many punches could condemn him to the fate of his American coach, Freddie Roach.

"The sight of Roach himself riddled by Parkinson's disease and the great heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, wracked by the disease, sends shivers among many who care deeply for Pacquiao," Nathanielsz wrote in the Manila Standard.

Philippine Olympic Committee vice-president Joey Romasanta said Pacquiao should have quit after his last successful title defence in November 2011, when he beat Marquez, who is now 39.

"It would have been nice if he had retired while he was ahead. In boxing, there will always be somebody better. After this loss, Manny should read the signs and consider these things," Romasanta told the Manila Bulletin newspaper.

Pacquiao, who has been a world champion in eight divisions, has used his boxing fame to build a film and television career. He was also elected to parliament in 2010 and has even become a Bible-quoting preacher.

Despite their misgivings, many more Filipinos still want Pacquiao to go out on a high note by winning a dream match before retiring.

To many, that would pit him against undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr.

"He shouldn't retire. He has to recover and redeem himself. Then he can retire," Roel Velasco, a bronze medallist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, told the Bulletin.

London-based Boxing News blogger Daniel Welling acknowledged the calls for Pacquiao to bid boxing goodbye.

But he wrote: "It would be a huge shame if one of the greatest fighters of the modern era ends his career face down on the mat," referring to how Pacquiao's fight with Marquez ended.



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