At this point in Manny Pacquiao's boxing career, not only is taking time off a bad idea, but it's not an option.
That's why the boxing icon is wise to pursue a potential tune-up fight in Asia this spring, before attempting to avenge Juan Manuel Marquez in a fourth rematch between the two rivals. According to Boxing Scene's Ronnie Nathanielsz, "two opponents mentioned for a possible April 20 fight against Pacquiao are undefeated junior welterweight Brandon Rios and Mexican Humberto Soto."
For Pac-Man, who recently turned 34 years old and is coming off two consecutive losses for the first time in his career, his lack of both focus and confidence is what seems to be holding him back.
Still, until he's forced to take on an opponent of Marquez's caliber, he will have a major advantage in terms of experience, ability and training.
Pac-Man may be slightly past his prime, but he's still one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers on the planet, boasting supreme power and quickness inside the ring, even if that ring is located thousands of miles from the MGM Grand.
Pacquiao can't schedule an April fight in the U.S. because of his current precautionary suspension following his knockout loss to Marquez on Dec. 8 (via The Philippine Star's Abac Cordero):
Manny Pacquiao drew automatic suspension for 120 days from the Nevada State Athletic Commission and was directed to avoid any contact in the first 90 days or do any physical activity related to boxing following his devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez...
An April fight in Asia would render the suspension ineffective however, seeing as the NSAC's ruling doesn't cover that part of the world.
Manny Pacquiao eyeing an April fight is...
Wherever the fight takes place though, Pacquiao desperately needs a tune-up bout, and he's smart to pursue one. He needs to refocus his attention on the sport and on his training. Somewhere along the way in 2012, Pac-Man's professional priorities were rearranged, and his results prove it.
Taking time off would only distance Pacquiao further from the sport of boxing.
Avenging Marquez and eventually returning to the top will require a boost in confidence. Yes, he can gain perspective spending time away from the ring, but that won't assist him in between the ropes.
Pac-Man must return in a hurry and with something to prove. Otherwise, his recent struggles will become a disturbing trend.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.