What's next for Manny Pacquiao?

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Danny Howard

August 23rd, 2021

Manny Pacquiao was a huge favorite over late substitute Yordenis Ugas, but ended up on the wrong side of history following their bout on Saturday night. Has age finally caught up to the former champ? Is it time for Pacquiao to call it a career?

Manny Pacquiao is at the end of the road

For someone as endearing to the public as Pacquiao has been, the living icon was a full step behind Ugas last weekend, with only his activity preventing a whitewashing at the capable hands of the Cuban pugilist.

Pacquiao was flatfooted and stiff, an indication that his trademark agility and speed have left him. Ugas picked him apart from the sixth round onward. It’s hard to say it and mean it, but Pacquiao looked like a shot fighter.

That’s not to say we’ve seen the last of him. Pacquiao even now could still be tough for all but the very best at welterweight, although his post-fight comments made it clear he's certainly leaning towards retirement.

Pacquiao is now free to pursue political glory

One thing Pacquiao has been extremely passionate about is his work as a senator in the Philippines, and Pacquiao has made his intentions clear that he plans to run for president in the near future. His forays into boxing have made him a hero for the island, and his philanthropy in his poverty-stricken district has made him a strong political contender. The Ugas loss might put his political career in perspective, particularly making it his sole focus from here on out.

One last major payday may not be out of the question to finance his political ambitions. Whether Pacquiao will return to the ring before the May 2022 election is hard to say, but according to multiple outlets, he is guaranteed a $5 million purse along with shares of the pay-per-view revenue.

Spence was the biggest loser of the night

Had Pacquiao fought Errol Spence Jr. as initially planned, there’s little doubt Spence would have delivered an uncomfortable beating. Though it’s unfair to put Spence down for suffering a detached retina before the fight, his chance to get some of Pacquiao’s shine by presumably retiring him has to sting.

When Spence recovers, the right thing to do is face Ugas as soon as he’s ready. Beyond that, Spence will now have to make a bigger push to face contemporary rival Terence Crawford in a fight that has been an absolute nightmare to make. Spence managed to offset criticism for the fight not being made when Pacquiao announced he’d fight him, but there’s no good reason for Spence to continue sidestepping Crawford now that Pacquiao is out of the picture.