There is a reason the Nevada Boxing Commission banned Manny Pacquiao from fighting for four months after the brutal knockout blow he took from Juan Manuel Marquez that ended their December bout.
Pacquiao cited carelessness as the reason he got caught in that fight, and that may well be the case. There’s no reason to believe a couple consecutive losses signals the end of his career. But it should at least prompt Pac-Man to take a little time off.
Boxing can be a brutal sport, and Pacquiao isn’t the first fighter to have been out cold on the canvas for two minutes as the result of a perfect right hand. He wouldn’t even be the first fighter to circumvent the rules and fight again just months after suffering such a big blow. It’s not the right choice for him this time, though.
According to an ESPN report, Pacquiao has been offered $10 million to fight in Dubai in April. There has been speculation about a potential opportunity to participate in a warm-up match, to which trainer Freddie Roach was at one point opposed (via SI.com).
Roach has apparently changed his tune, though, and feels a fight in Dubai would be a great event (via ESPN):
A place like Dubai for a fight could be great. It's a great location for pay-per-view and TV networks and it would be seen worldwide. There would definitely be a lot of interest for a fight to take place there so it has the potential to be a great event.
Pac-Man doesn’t need a warm-up fight to prepare for a potential rematch with Marquez, and it’s unlikely he really needs the money that badly, either. If he’s not squaring off against Floyd Mayweather in April, he shouldn’t be fighting at all.
While many will argue Pacquiao shouldn’t even be thinking about another fight until September (when he could be facing off with Marquez again), citing the December knockout as reason to just take it easy and train hard for several months, a bout with Mayweather has the potential to be much, much bigger. Boxing fans have wanted to see Pac-Man and Mayweather square off since the two started dominating the sport. Still, it's unlikely to happen, and a warm-up fight with anyone else doesn't have enough value to make it worth the added abuse.
Should Pacquiao fight in Dubai in April?
Whatever the case, the $10 million offer to fight in Dubai shouldn’t be the driving force for Pacquiao’s decision. That may be the case for his promoter, Bob Arum, who stands to gain from a mega-fight in Dubai in the coming months, but there’s too much at stake for money to be the deciding factor.
Pacquiao has an incredible opportunity in his future. If he has a chance to finally face Mayweather, he should take it. If not, Pac-Man should train and prepare for a Marquez bout in September that could be his last as a professional boxer, regardless of the money left on the table from a potential fight in Dubai.
Some things are more important than money, and for Pacquiao, ending his career on top with his long-term health intact should be one of them.