Manny Pacquiao Retirement: Examining Pac-Man's Legacy After Matthysse Win

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2018

Philippines' Manny Pacquiao (R) fights Argentina's Lucas Matthysse during their world welterweight boxing championship bout at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on July 15, 2018. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MOHD RASFAN/Getty Images

Just over a year after he suffered a controversial defeat at the hands of Australian Jeff Horn, Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2) returned to the win column with a seventh-round technical knockout victory over Lucas Martin Matthysse (39-5) at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sunday. 

The triumph allowed Pacquiao to secure the WBA welterweight title, and it will undoubtedly provide him with a shot of confidence as he prepares to turn 40 in December.

But at this point, it's hard to view the win as anything more than a marginal silver lining when evaluating his career on the whole. 

Pacquiao's legacy was cemented earlier this century when he ripped off 15 straight wins between 2005 and 2011, including victorious efforts over Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez (twice), Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley.

Those were achievements worthy of his status as a pound-for-pound great, and they will largely dictate the conversation that surrounds his career when all is said and done.  

However, his bouts over the past few years have been largely forgettable. 

The southpaw looked like a shell of himself in May 2015 when he lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. via unanimous decision, and unanimous-decision wins over Timothy Bradley Jr. (April 2016) and Jessie Vargas (November 2016) weren't enough to compensate for the clunker he produced in what was initially billed as The Fight of the Century. 

As a result, Pacquiao's star has faded in conjunction with a changing of the guard in the welterweight division—leaving him to clash with fighters like Horn and Matthysse as he continues to scrap for relevance. 

And although wins are wins, they don't carry the weight they once did. Not against this kind of competition, and not at this stage in his fighting life. 

Pacquiao's resume will be worthy of praise when he steps away for good, to be sure, but in the meantime it's hard to reflect on those achievements when he's committed to hanging on as an also-ran. 

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