96°F
weather icon Clear

Manny Pacquiao: ‘You have to think about the life span of your body’

Manny Pacquiao’s words echoed through an empty T-Mobile Arena late Saturday.

“When our lives are finished inside this world, we can take nothing,” he said. “In this sport, this is my passion, this is why I’m still here, keep on fighting at the age of 42. I’m enjoying it, but sometimes you have to think about the life span of your body.”

Pacquiao was sitting at the postfight news conference, right at the edge of the ring he had shared with Yordenis Ugás a few hours earlier. Ugás, 35, a Cuban who took the fight on short notice, had just beaten the Filipino senator by unanimous decision.

With the adrenaline of Pacquiao’s ring walk and introduction all but faded, the questions quickly turned to a different topic: Was that it? Was that the last time the legendary eight-division champion would step into the ring?

Pacquiao didn’t answer one way or another, but his somber tone and reflective demeanor suggested that this was probably it. He’s mulling a run for president of his native Philippines, and, well, he’s done everything a boxer could possibly do in a 26-year professional career.

He was slowly, methodically passing the torch to the next generation. The opposite, almost, of the way he violently snatched it from Oscar De La Hoya in his own star-making performance 13 years ago. If this really was his final fight, he went out losing to an elite fighter at the top of his game.

Ugás was magnificent, using his size advantage and stiff jab to make sure the fight took place on his terms. Pacquiao’s vintage quickness was there in flashes, but he never could land clean combinations at a high enough clip to string together rounds. Ugás, who had closed as a 3-1 underdog, never let Pacquiao get on the inside.

“Pacquiao was a great competitor. I have a lot of respect for him,” Ugás said. “But I won the fight. I’m very emotional and proud.”

Pacquiao admitted after the fight that his legs felt stiff, likely the result of a worn-down, 42-year-old body that is trying to tell him something. He wasn’t even supposed to be fighting Ugás — that assignment originally had gone to undefeated Errol Spence Jr. before a torn retina forced him to pull out of the fight — but agreed to the new, tricky opponent less than two weeks before the fight.

This version of Pacquiao didn’t look quite the same as the one that turned back the clock with a win over Keith Thurman in July 2019. This one was still the game, resilient, fast-twitch fighter who has battled through knockout losses and bigger opponents his entire career. There was just something missing.

Pacquiao fought 22 times in Las Vegas, starting with his U.S. debut more than 20 years ago. He headlined against the biggest stars of his generation, electrifying crowds and building a global fan base. It sure seems as if Saturday was at least some version of his swan song.

If it was, he leaves the sport with a 62-8-2 record with 39 knockouts.

“I’ve done a lot for boxing, and boxing has done a lot for me,” said the grown-up version of the 16-year-old who put weights in his pockets to make the minimum limit for his pro debut.

It was quite the understatement.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Lady Trojans kick-off league play on right foot

The Pahrump Valley girls soccer team began their league-play schedule this week with a couple of home matchups.

A coaching career for the ages, forged in Beatty

Sonny Lubick became a college football coaching legend. But first he had to help a ragtag band of Beatty high-school kids find their place on the gridiron—and in life

Magda and Zuloaga take Shoes & Brews at DJ’s Saloon

The tournament had 24 pitchers participating, split into teams of two pitchers, with an A division and a B division pitcher on each team.

Beatty gets victory over Indian Springs at home

With their win, the Hornets now have a record of 2-1 on the season and they have matched their season win total from last year with four games still to play.

Lady Muckers volleyball get first league win of season

The Tonopah Muckers volleyball team won their first league game of the season when they swept the Lund Mustangs 3-0 on Saturday.

Fran Gobbi wins back-to-back at 500 Club events

On top of this being her second win in a row, this was Gobbi’s third straight tournament finishing among the top two bowlers.

Trojans struggling to get first win of the season

The Pahrump Valley Boys soccer team has managed to score just four goals in their seven games this season, with two of those goals coming in a 4-2 loss to Equipo Academy last week.