Watching Manny Pacquiao, boxing's greatest star since Mike Tyson, fall so far has been heartbreaking for boxing fans, but Saturday night's performance left no questions regarding his future. The former star no longer has the ability to compete with the best boxers in the world.
This assertion is hard to make, especially considering how hard Pacquiao fought last night. He came out against Juan Manuel Marquez with fists blazing, but it wasn't enough. One could argue it was Pacquiao's most inspired performance in years, and yet the 39-year-old Marquez was able to KO Pacquiao.
A decline had begun to emerge over Pacquiao's past few fights.
In his third rematch against Marquez, Pacquiao already began to show signs of decline. Though Pacquiao landed more punches than Marquez did, Marquez hung even with Pacquiao. Many pundits thought Marquez should have been given the decision in the fight.
In his next fight against Timothy Bradley, Pacquiao was dealt a controversial loss. The fight never should have been close. Bradley is not a bad fighter, but he would not be a household name were it not for his defeat of Pacquiao.
Lastly, Pacquiao was KO'd at the hands of Marquez. This fight cemented Pacquiao's decline and shows that he is no longer the same boxer he once was.
The problem for Pacquiao seems to be endurance. He regularly comes out with strong starts, but falls apart by the end of the fight. Pacquiao allowed Marquez to stick around in each of their fights, and he allowed Bradley to overtake him in that fight as well.
At 33 years old and with 17 years of boxing behind him, Pacquiao's endurance is not going to improve, regardless of how well he is trained.
On the contrary, Pacquiao has the potential to do some real good in the Philippines. He has done great work with human trafficking in his home country, among other things.
Unlike boxing, politics is something one improves at over time. Though a rematch with Marquez may be tempting for Pacquiao, and a matchup with Floyd Mayweather would be too tempting to resist, the time has come for Pacquiao to hang up the gloves.