There was nothing indecisive about the way Manny Pacquiao's last fight ended.
Pacquiao, 34, was fighting all-out against Juan Manuel Marquez, as he has in nearly every fight of his career.
Despite suffering a third-round knockdown, Pacquiao was giving a strong account of himself. He had registered his own knockdown of Marquez and was also punishing him with hard punches that had cut up and battered Marquez's face.
But then it happened.
As the sixth round was winding down, Pacquiao found himself in no man's land. He was in range of a Marquez power shot and the Mexican fighter loaded up and landed the best punch of his career.
Pacquiao was knocked unconscious before he hit the canvas.
He suffered a brutal knockout.
It was the kind of defeat that causes a boxer to think about his future—both in the ring and out.
That's just what a fighter should do when he gets flattened the way Pacquiao did.
Here's a look at the pros and cons of Pacquiao retiring right now.
1. Preventing Major Injury. Pacquiao got hit with a devastating punch by Marquez. Can anyone guarantee that he won't get hit with that kind of punch again? Of course not. For the sake of his future health, Pacquiao ought to step away from fighting.
2. Give Family Piece of Mind. Immediately after the end of the Marquez fight, Pacquiao's wife and mother came out with public statements that they want him to leave the ring and stop fighting. While the decision is and should be Pacquiao's, there's nothing wrong with making those who are closest to him happy.
3. Preserve His Legacy. Pacquiao is one of the greatest fighters of the last decade. He may not be one of the all-time great fighters, but he dominated his era. If he continues to fight, suffers additional punishment and a couple of more losses are put on his record, it may be difficult for him to be remembered as a great fighter.
4. Political Ambition. Pacquiao is not a one-dimensional individual. He has a life outside the ring. He is a member of the Filipino House of Representatives. He is viewed as a humanitarian who can help out the poorest Filipino individuals.
1. Pacquiao is Still a Dynamic Fighter. Prior to getting hit by Marquez's knockout punch, he appeared to be winning the fight. His punches were hurting Marquez and causing damage. He did not look like a fighter who was finished.
2. Unfinished Business. Pacquiao still has things he wants to accomplish in boxing. He would like to get back into the ring and do to Marquez what Marquez did to him. The two men have fought four times. Pacquiao would like to rewrite the script in a fifth fight.
3. Fight Floyd Mayweather. This fight has been discussed for years, but it has never been made. It appears further away now than it has been at any point in the last four or five years. However, if Pacquiao could get back in the ring and prove he is still a great fighter by beating Marquez and another fighter, a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao might still be made in 2014.
4. The Sport Needs Him. Boxing has many great fighters, but few of them have the presence of a Pacquiao. He is a world-class personality and fighter. He brings positive attention to his sport.
Ultimately, the decision lies with Pacquiao. He is still a great athlete and a top fighter and it would be great for him to explain to his family that he still loves boxing and has plenty to offer the sport.
He should not file his retirement papers just yet.
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