There is no denying that Manny Pacquiao is one of the most recognizable faces in all of sports. And up to this point, Pac-Man has been a star outside of the boxing ring because of his success inside of it.
That could all change on December 8, 2012 however, when he squares off with rival Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time in eight years.
Pacquiao can't afford another loss this year, not after the debacle in Las Vegas last June. Say what you want about controversy, but Timothy Bradley's clouded WBO welterweight championship victory goes in the books as a split decision loss for Pacquiao.
Pacquiao has never lost more than one fight in a single year since his professional career began in 1995. Before June 9 he hadn't been defeated since March 2005.
If Pac-Man backs into 2013 having dropped two consecutive fights his star power will effectively be on the ropes. After all, he will turn 34 just days after the Marquez fight.
Commercials like this one, made possible by Pacquiao's havoc wreaked inside the ring over the years, would begin to fade before becoming nonexistent.
A second consecutive loss in 2012 would have devastating consequences for Pacquiao's star power, which in turn impacts boxing fans.
The entire premise of the potential superfight between he and Floyd Mayweather Jr. is built upon both men being the top two pound-for-pound boxers on the planet. It won't be the same if Pacquiao is limping into the fight having lost two in a row, or it may not even happen at all.
Pacquiao is a bona fide superstar in the sport. Therefore few are under as much pressure to perform on the big stage and maintain that superstar status than Pac-Man. If star power is a fast car flying down the highway, then victories serve as the fuel that keeps it moving.
Pacquiao needs more fuel.
He had 15 straight fights over a period of seven years before last summer's loss. But none of that matters now, because it's time to stop the bleeding to avoid beginning another kind of streak.
At this point in Pacquiao's boxing career, victories aren't a luxury, they're a necessity. And right now, Pac-Man desperately needs one to fuel his at-risk star power.
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