What if Pacman loses this November 24?

Good-bye. The simple truth is, if Manny Pacquiao gets defeated a third straight time (in his upcoming bout in Macau), that’s it. He stops. He retires forever from boxing.

Two weeks ago, our group of sportswriters met for lunch. Among the many stories that we exchanged was talk of Sarangani’s congressman.

“Rios (Manny’s opponent) is young and he’s very, very hungry,” said one colleague. “Compared to Manny who’s getting older and getting farther and farther away from boxing.”

My friend’s conclusion? “I think Manny will lose.”

Ouch. All things — the good, included — come to an end.

I recall our family’s insightful conversation one evening with Wally Liu, the owner of Primary Structures and one of our island’s most respected businessmen. Wally was telling us stories of business. Any business, he said, will always have a start and an end. Businesses, no matter how strong and mighty, will have it’s ending.

If Wally speaks of business, that applies even more to sports — where the body gets punched, the skin gets wrinkled.

Pacquiao is 34 years old. He’s not thirty four years young. Brandon Rios is young at 27.

Look at what happened to Anderson Silva. “The Boast” is 38 years old. And did you notice the “Anderson Knows” shirt that he boastfully wore upon entry to the octagon? I hope Manny knows that those “Nike knows” shirts are dimalas.

Manny used to be the “Pound-for-Pound No.1 in the world.” Today, he’s the “Pound-for-Pound No.1 in GenSan.”

Pacman better shape-up. Literally and figuratively. His last climb on the ring was in December 8, 2012. And we know his last memory of that bout. Or shall I say, given his temporary loss of consciousness upon the face-first fall, he’ll have remembered it from watching the DVD.

It will be more than 11.5 months (exactly 350 days) in between that Juan Manuel Marquez knockout and the Brandos Rios bout. That’s a long, long, long, long time. I scoured through Pacman’s previous encounters and he’s never had a gap this long. Ever. (Consider that, in his first year in boxing, he fought 10 fights in 1995.)

And it’s not like he’s been training this entire 2013. He’s busy. Manny is forever busy. Busy with all things except boxing. Busy as a father to Jimuel, Michael, Princess and Queenie; busy as a (now) faithful husband to Maria Geraldine Jamora; busy as Mindanao’s most famous solon; busy shooting basketball free-throws; busy as a God-loving and Bible-reading Christian.

Of the latter, this is, obviously, very, very good. Manny, as all reports have indicated, has renounced his sinful ways and become an honest, good boy. This is good. And bad. Because as good as this is when it involves his entire life and his relationships with Jinkee and his family, this hasn’t been all-too-good with boxing.

I’m no boxer but the mentality is to kill. It’s a savage, cruel, I-will-make-you-bleed sport.

I repeat: Manny’s becoming “good” is good. But has it softened his killer instinct? Has it mellowed his aggressiveness? Has he realized the whole meaning of life — that it’s not all about beating-up people?

I don’t know the answer. But it’s very possible that all these factors — Manny’s age, his long-standing myriad of activities that only Superman can follow, his newfound heart and surrender to God — that all these may have transformed him into a good guy/lousy boxer.

With his coming Nov. 24 bout: I hope Manny wins. Who Filipino doesn’t? I hope he wins and retires.Knowing him and Mayweather, they might be texting each other for a mega-bout in 2014.

But I hope he retires. He has nothing to prove. He is already the greatest Filipino athlete ever — and one of the greatest Pinoys in history. Fifty years from now, when Jose Rizal and Ninoy Aquino and Carlos P. Romulo will be discussed in the history books of our great-grandchildren, “Manny Pacquiao” will be one of those names. From kargador to the most famous Filipino ever, what a life. It’s time to stop the joyride. Time to gamble and win — then stop — in Macao.

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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