Nothing can erase Manny Pacquiao's 54 career wins and lasting impact on the sport of boxing, but 2013 is a make-or-break year for the sporting icon.
And he can thank Juan Manuel Marquez for that.
When Marquez landed the "knockout punch heard around the world" on the 10-time world champion a few weeks ago, the boxing world was sent into a tizzy.
How could the seemingly immortal Pacquiao end up sprawled out on the mat, face-down and lifeless? What would become of the legend of the Pac-Man?
That question must be answered in 2013.
And so, the countdown begins.
With questions about retirement already arising, the Marquez knockout has only raised more speculation about whether it's time for Pacquiao to call it quits.
In fact, the message has already been delivered from his own family, according to an article from SI.com.
Pacquiao’s mother Dionisia was more direct in a separate interview on the same network.
“I have long asked you son, it is time to retire because you started boxing at such a young age. I always pray that he will stop. I asked God to tell my son to stop,” she said.
Both Pacquiao's mother and his wife, Jinkee, called for his retirement following the surprising loss. But before he hangs 'em up, Pacquiao needs to give it another shot this upcoming year.
While we certainly won't see another Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, that doesn't mean 2013 should be a fruitless year. Allen Fox of BoxingNews24.com writes that Brandon Rios could be Pac-Man's opponent on April 20.
Rios doesn't bring the same kind of power as Marquez, but the former World Boxing Association lightweight champion throws a ton of punches and wears down his opponent.
Pacquiao's legendary conditioning and training routine should still give him the upper-hand if the matchup takes place, but we can no longer expect a win every time he steps in the ring. His age may have caught up with him, and with such a short recovery period between fights, it could spell trouble for Pacquiao.
Whoever he draws on April 20, it will be a good barometer of where Pacquiao's career stands. There's no doubt that he'll go down as one of the best of all-time, but that time could be running short.
If he goes out and handles his opponent, he'll instill confidence in the boxing community that he can still hang with the best of them. But if the result is another knockout, a loss or even a poor performance, it could spell the end for the legend.
Pacquiao has always been a sure thing in his career, but 2013 is very much a make-or-break year for one of the true living legends in sports.
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