Manny Pacquiao Must Not Let Politics Deter Training for Next Bout

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVMarch 10, 2013

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 08:  (R-L) Manny Pacquiao knocks down Juan Manuel Marquez in the fifth round during their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

It's certainly commendable what Manny Pacquiao has been able to do with his political career alongside his incredible boxing career. But he must be sure that his upcoming May election doesn't adversely affect whatever fight he takes on in late 2013.

Pacquiao may have passed up an opportunity to upgrade to a more elite opponent after being knocked out in his fourth bout against Juan Manuel Marquez, but that doesn't mean his next fight will be chump change.

In fact, it's very likely we could see Pacquiao-Marquez V this September, according to Alfredo Berrios of ESPN Deportes. 

While this may seem like a world away for the average sports fan, it's far from that if you're a boxing aficionado. 

These bouts take months and months to prepare for, and that might be an understatement for an athlete of Pacquiao's age and style. The 34-year-old excels when he is the most energetic boxer in the ring and can exhaust his opponent with that erratic style of fighting.

I'm no trainer, but it will certainly take diligent effort and persistence to work himself back to the shape that will allow Pacquiao a shot to top Marquez in the fifth, and likely final, bout of an incredible rivalry. 

I'm not saying that campaigning for his election in May will have an adverse effect on his training schedule, but the bulk of his efforts needs to go to his professional career path if he wants his legacy to be that of a boxing great.

It wasn't much more than a year ago that a Pacquiao bout with Floyd Mayweather was considered a potential showdown between the world's two best pound-for-pound boxers. In fact, some people still believe this.

But if that bout is to ever happen, Manny needs to work his tail off to get past his Marquez demons and show the world, and Mayweather, that he's capable of hanging with Mayweather in the ring. 

This is about more than just Pacquiao's upcoming fight. This is about his legacy and how he'll be remembered forever.

Another knockout to Marquez would spell the inevitable end of Pacquiao's career. But a thrilling victory could revitalize his career and turn all eyes to a potential 2014 bout for the ages against Mayweather. 

It's all on the line, and the last thing Manny can afford to do is to let his mind and efforts slip elsewhere.