You can’t devote your life to two things at the same time, at least not when it comes to boxing and politics. Manny Pacquiao may be the most politically active boxer we’ve seen since Muhammad Ali and you could easily make the case that he’s more active than Ali ever was. Ali talked a great game, but his activism was more vocal and less involved than Pacquiao.
While Pacquiao may relish his role as a congressman of his homeland, the need of his country and the need to commit so much of himself to boxing will soon leave him at a crossroads. He must ask himself what’s more important. Is it the legacy he’s created in the ring, which will be surpassed by few ever, or the change he’s attempting to make in a country that worships him as a hero and needs him more than boxing ever will?
It’s no secret that Pacquiao has longed for more than just a political career in face alone. This move wasn’t opportunistic. This decision wasn’t about upping his own stock. He wants to better his own country, and though there are concerns that money issues will force him to fight, there is nothing that says he won't bow out to focus on his goals.
So perhaps that’s the rub. Perhaps his appearances these days aren’t just about bringing him the glory of titles and the value of knowing he’s as dominant as anyone the sport has right now. Perhaps it’s been about more than that. It’s been about giving back.
This line of thinking is likely the reason why a Mayweather fight will happen. When push comes to shove, the purse will be too attractive and too much can be done with that money to help the Philippines.
While money is nice, it only goes so far. Manny knows—as well as any politician worth their election—that without real change in law and in policy, there can be no change. All that money that Manny dumps into the budget for his country will be squandered while he’s away preparing for his next opponent.
Pay days are nice, but Pacquiao is committed to making things better. That journey can only truly begin when he says goodbye to boxing.