The next chapter in Manny Pacquiao's boxing career needs to be his exit.
He has long been one of the sport's biggest draws, but after his sixth-round knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez, you have to wonder if Pacquiao has anything left in the tank. The commentators were almost immediately asking the same question.
No matter the answer, this should be his last fight in the ring.
Even with the loss to Marquez, Pacquiao's only logical opponent for his next match would be Floyd Mayweather Jr. This has been considered the last remaining superfight in boxing.
The matchup had lost considerable luster with the long, drawn-out process of actually booking the fight. Unfortunately, it's almost completely dead in terms of the amount of money and attention it could draw.
Fans might still be interested, but it would look much like the Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis fight, which managed to net each fighter a nice financial windfall. But it was nothing compared to what it could have drawn years earlier when the two were in their primes.
When the two finally did meet, Tyson was years away from his prime, and Lewis duly dispatched him with an eighth-round knockout.
While it might not end in a knockout, a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would likely look just as one-sided.
The Pac-Man looks much more advanced in the ring than his age would have you believe. Despite being only 33 years old, he has been steadily declining.
He has long relied on his movement to avoid his opponent's biggest blows and then pepper him with tons of punches. As he has aged, Pacquiao has failed to compensate for losing some of his ability to move around the ring.
In order to maintain a high level as a fighter into the twilight of his career, a boxer must adapt his style, and Pacquiao hasn't been able to do that.
The problem with so many boxers is that they don't know when to call it quits. They suffer both physically and with their career résumés.
The greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali, is the perfect example. Late in his career he was a shell of his former self and lost his last two fights to Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick. And it's almost painful to watch him out in public with how advanced his Parkinson's is, no doubt a result of the blows he took in the ring.
In addition, fighting isn't necessary for Pacquiao anymore. He has obviously made a ton of money throughout his career, as his net worth is estimated at $85 million, which takes into account the huge payday from the Marquez fight.
The most important fact for Pacquiao, though, is that he's established himself outside the ring.
Whether it's singing with Jimmy Kimmel or running for office in the Philippines, Pacquiao has managed to build himself into a brand. This allows him to retire, yet maintain a high status among retired fighters and a steady flow of money.
The allure of another huge payout for a potential fight with Mayweather might prove to be too much to pass up, but if Pacquiao were smart, he would hang up the gloves now.
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