Share This Page

After stunning loss, Pacquiao faces tough choices

| Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, 8:11 p.m.
REUTERS
Manny Pacquiao rises from the canvas after being knocked down by Juan Manuel Marquez in the third round of their welterweight fight on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, at e MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. (Reuters)
Juan Manuel Marquez (left) and Manny Pacquiao trade punches during their WBO world welterweight fight Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AP)

MANILA, Philippines — Manny Pacquiao already has achieved what most of his countrymen can only dream of: lifting himself out of wrenching poverty, securing a future for his children and becoming a hero to Filipinos the world over.

Not content with just winning in the ring, Pacquiao also set about making his mark in politics.

But after his stunning loss to Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday in Las Vegas, the 34-year-old is facing some of the toughest questions of his remarkable 17-year career: Does his future lay in boxing, politics, show business, religion or perhaps even a new challenge?

“Being the king of boxing, being the highest-paid athlete in boxing ... it goes with the territory,” boxing analyst Ed Tolentino said. “For Pacquiao, the fame was too much to handle. There was just too many things on his plate other than boxing.”

The distraction was costly for Pacquiao, who trained for two months, compared to 4 12 for Marquez. During that time, the Mexican bulked up and became more muscular to withstand the blows from Pacquiao that proved so damaging in their three previous encounters.

Pacquiao grew up a survivor and fighter, overcoming poverty and cut-throat competition in a country where half of the population lives on $2 a day and 3,000 leave for jobs overseas every day.

After finding success in local bouts, Pacquiao began his international career in the late 1990s. In the next decade, he became a household name by clinching eight world titles in eight weight categories. At home, he was declared a hero, “the people's champ.”

But as the titles, honors and money started pouring in, so did distractions.

In a nation where celebrities, money and politics equal a winning formula, Pacquiao played his card by running for Congress in 2007 but lost.

The most popular face in town, he turned to crooning his own songs. His picture endorsed countless products. He's a regular on TV and hosts his own show. He's made a movie. Another passion is cock fighting, a past time in the Philippines.

There are questions about whether Pacquiao is showing the wear of 17 years in the ring and whether the distractions are catching up with him. Saturday's loss to Marquez, whom he had beaten twice and drawn once, only made those questions more urgent, although Pacquiao made no mention of a possible retirement.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.