Manny Pacquiao has a number of options for his next career move, but the smartest decision he could make is to retire from boxing.
In his most recent fight, the accomplished fighter was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in the fourth matchup between the two competitors. This came after he lost to Timothy Bradley by decision earlier in the year.
After these losses, everyone wants to offer opinions about the next step. However, one person holds a little more weight than others: his wife.
Jinkee Pacquiao recently told to Jon Saraceno of USA Today that she wants her husband to retire:
I know he is still (capable) of fighting, but for me there is nothing to prove. He already has eight (title) belts. He can retire — stop — at anytime. I want him to stop now. But he is the one who has the last say. Boxers risk their lives; (some) end up in wheelchairs. I don't want that to happen to Manny.
Everything she said is entirely accurate.
After spending almost 20 years boxing professionally, there is little left for Pacquiao to prove. His legacy is solid and he is likely heading to the Hall of Fame. He is unlikely to improve his reputation, but more losses could make things worse.
The former champ could obviously make some more matches against lesser-known fighters to end on some wins, but that would not change many opinions.
Jinkee has also seen the writing on the wall from boxers throughout history. Numerous competitors are not the same mentally after a long career in the ring.
Dr. Charles Bernick completed a study of 78 boxers and MMA fighters that said that athletes in these sports start suffering memory loss after nine years of experience, according to Ryan Jaslow of CBS News. The study said:
The researchers found in both groups that those with more years of fighting experience overall, as well as those participating in more fights per year, were more likely to have lower brain volumes than fighters who had the least experience.
While this information might seem obvious, many fighters are still competing late into their careers.
In Saraceno's article, Mrs. Pacquiao described her emotions during the match against Marquez. She said, "It's the first time I've seen him like that, lying on the canvas, and I was scared."
After a hit like the one he took, anyone would be scared.
Of course, the decision ultimately lies with Manny. He could choose to set up rematches with Bradley or Marquez and try to avenge his latest defeats.
There is also the possibility of the superfight against Floyd Mayweather, although that has lost some luster after Pacquiao's recent defeats.
However, the boxing star needs to look back on his career and realize that he has done everything he could do in this sport.
He should be set financially as the No. 2 richest athlete in the world, according to Forbes. He should end his time in the spotlight and enjoy the rest of his years with his family and friends.