There’s nothing in sports that compares to a big fight night. It’s the World Series, Superbowl, Stanley Cup and NBA Finals all wrapped up into one huge event. The Manny Pacquiao Timothy Bradley fight tonight at the MGM Grand, is a must win fight for Pacquiao. At 35 years old, he is quickly approaching the end of his career no matter the result of tonight’s fight. Manny has always been a good puncher but also through barrages of punches. If he no longer possesses the ability to do either, the two things that made him a pound for pound best candidate, there’s no point in him continuing. Anything but a dominating performance like what he did against Rios or a knockout, will signal the end of his career.
The problem with being as great as Manny was is his prime is that when the decline begins, it’s very noticeable. It’s clear to everyone. It’s like the super model who gets older. How can she be more beautiful than she was at 35? There simply is no where else to go but down. It isn’t fair or kind, but it’s better to have been the best or most beautiful than the alternative. Hopefully Freddie Roach will be honest with his fighter and show enough compassion to ask him to quit if he doesn’t fight with at least a strong resemblance to the Pacquiao of old.
Bradley for his part is undefeated. He has nothing to lose in this fight. If he wins, it only solidifies his first fight victory. If he loses, it would only be because Manny fought the 35-year-old fight of his life and there’s no shame in that. He’s younger at 30 and still will have many other big paydays in his future as he always puts on a good show.
This fight has great potential but also has the potential to end the career of one of the greatest and most entertaining fighters who ever stepped into a ring. But that can be said of every fight Pacquiao fights from now until he eventually does hang up the gloves for good.