Enjoy Pac-Man while you can.
Manny Pacquiao’s upcoming fight against Timothy Bradley won’t define his career. It won’t enhance or damage his legacy either. For Pacquiao, the only potential that the match possesses is to shorten his career so that he’s unable to enhance his legacy.
While the Filipino only suffered three losses in 59 career fights, unlike Floyd Mayweather, a reputation of invincibility isn’t on the line. That’s why losing to the inferior Bradley wouldn’t hurt his legacy one bit.
Boxers’ legacies simply aren’t scarred by losses that occur past their prime. Muhammad Ali is the perfect example of that.
Many experts believe Ali is the greatest boxer of all-time. In his prime, he developed the reputation of a flashy fighter. While he lost three out of his last four career fights, Ali is still regarded today as an All-World boxer and the most entertaining showboat in sports history.
Now, Dan Rafael of ESPN reported that Pacquiao doesn’t believe retirement is on his radar. In mid-May he said:
I’m glad to be back at Freddie’s gym. I have no plans to retire. I still love what I’m doing. Freddie and I had a good camp in the Philippines and we are ready to work very hard in preparation for Timothy Bradley. Bradley is strong, undefeated and young. I have a great deal of respect for his talents and his accomplishments.
But at 33 years old, retirement is sneaking up on Pacquiao like a ninja. And if he were to lose to Bradley that ninja would morph into an elephant—he would definitely hear it coming.
No matter how much Pacquiao respects Bradley, the American is an inferior opponent. He’s undefeated, but the level of talent that he’s fought is extremely lacking. According to Granville Ampong of examiner.com, Bradley once dodged a capable boxer and he justified it with this explanation:
“What if I lose? Then I am out the sweep-stake to fight pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao for 7.5 million dollars.”
Like I said: inferior.
In reality, the only way for Pacquiao to boost his standing in history is if he defeats Mayweather. Money is the only fighter alive with enough prestige to do so. Other than fighting him, the only positive thing Pacquiao is capable of doing for his legacy is increase his career winning percentage and total wins.
While a loss itself wouldn't be detrimental to Pac-Man's legacy, it would most likely eliminate the slim odds that Mayweather would ever man up and fight him.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.