The idea that Manny Pacquiao's career is over or that his skills have declined because of a knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez is ridiculous. In fact, it could be the best thing that has happened to his boxing career in a long time.
There is no indication from Pacquiao that he is going to retire because of the loss, despite the fact his wife and mother believe it would be in his best interest to do so (via Sports Illustrated).
This leaves open several possibilities as to what might happen next with Pacquiao. Is there a fifth match with Marquez on the horizon? Will Pacquiao feel the need to talk Floyd Mayweather into a fight so he can repair his image?
The world is at Pacquiao's fingertips in a way it hasn't been in a very long time. He can do anything that he wants in the sport of boxing without ramifications from fans or analysts.
We need to get rid of this idea that Pacquiao is done because he was knocked out by Marquez. First, Marquez is one of the best boxers in the world. These two fought three times before, all of them incredibly close, so they know each other as well as two athletes can.
Second, Pacquiao was knocked out with a lucky counter-punch. He was winning the fight on points through the fifth round. Marquez even admitted in the post-fight interview (Associated Press via ESPN) that it was a perfect punch.
How often in boxing does a fighter land that perfect punch to knock an opponent out?
Pacquiao has been coasting along for years, relying on his immense talent to carry him to victory over some of the best fighters in the world. That includes Marquez—twice. The loss to Timothy Bradley in June was the result of a judging error, not because Pacquiao was destroyed by a younger, more dynamic fighter.
The loss to Marquez was the result of one great punch. It is important to remember that Pacquiao did knock Marquez down in the fifth. This fight could have gone either way before that one punch was thrown.
Now that Pacquiao had his clock cleaned, he can get a fresh start. He needed something to bring his full attention back to boxing. His extracurricular activities, which include being a politician and singer, have taken away from what he does best.
No longer will Pacquiao relax when he goes into a fight. He is going to become an even better fighter as a result of this loss. Pacquiao needed a wake-up call to avoid staying complacent. He got a lot more than that, as Marquez's right hand will bring out the sleeping giant Pacquiao has been hiding.
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