By Max Schramm: Andre Ward believes it’s time for Manny Pacquiao to retire from boxing after losing to Yordenis Ugas eight days ago in Las Vegas.
The former super middleweight champion Ward thinks it’s time the 42-year-old Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) hang up his gloves so that he can “preserve” his health and move into a new phase of his life.
Pacquiao must make a tough decision
Ward acknowledges that it’s going to be the toughest decision that the former eight-division world champion Pacquiao makes in his life because there’s the temptation to continue fighting.
Even now, Pacquiao is contemplating coming back for one more fight to attempt to avenge his 12 round unanimous decision loss to WBA ‘Super World’ welterweight champion Yordenis (27-4, 12 KOs).
Ward is hoping that Pacquiao doesn’t come back for one more fight, as he’s too old now to be continuing to go through the grueling training camps against five or six sparring partners for eight to ten weeks to prepare for his fights.
Pacquiao won’t find it easy retiring
“I’ve walked that road that hopefully Manny Pacquiao walks, so I don’t say this haphazardly,” said Andre Ward to ESPN. “Especially for a fighter Manny Pacquiao’s stature, it’s not going to be easy for him to walk away and stay away.
“It’s going to be the hardest thing he’s ever had to do in his life. He’s fought 72 professional fights, and he’s fought the murderer’s row in boxing.
“This is going to be the hardest thing. Looking at himself in the mirror and saying, ‘I got a little bit left but not enough to compete with the best.
“I have other things on the table, but I need to preserve my health, and I need to bow out gracefully,’ because it’s uncharted territory, and that’s what fighters fear,” Ward said.
The worry with Pacquiao is that even if he does come back and defeat Ugas next January, he’ll be lured back for a unification fight against IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
Pacquiao would add to his fortune by fighting Spence (27-0, 21 KOs), but it would be a risky one in which he could get hurt.
Fighting Ugas again will be difficult enough for Pacquiao because the Cuban fighter will have full use of both arms for the rematch instead of just one.
Ugas had an injured left bicep for the Pacquiao fight, and he mostly used his right hand for power punching. If Ugas is healthy for the rematch, Pacquiao will have to worry about getting hit hard with both of his hands. That’ll make it more difficult for Pacquiao to win.
Ward: It’s not worth it for Pacquiao
“We’ll fight King Kong, but ask us to go around the corner and embark on a new phase of life that we’ve never embarked upon,” said Ward.
“No matter how many people are saying you should do it. They’re not going to wall in your shoes.
“So it’s a very difficult thing, and I don’t want to seem like I’m saying this haphazardly.
“It’s a necessary evil and a road that he has to embark on because you have to look at it long-term.
“Manny is not 20; he’s not 30 anymore. He’s 42-years-old, and you just can’t go into these training camps sparring three times a week for eight to ten weeks against five or six sparring partners.
“Getting in there with eight to ten oz gloves on, fighting young guys. It’s just not worth it anymore for Manny Pacquiao,” said Ward.
Pacquiao will make the decision soon on whether he’ll continue. But you have to believe that if Pacquiao loses again, he’ll retire at that point because he’s got his pride. He’s not going to keep fighting if he can’t beat Ugas.
There are arguably better fighters out there than Ugas, and if Pacquiao didn’t beat him a second time, it would show that he’s at the end of the line.
Is it time for Manny Pacquaio to retire? He turns 43 in December and is coming off a loss to Yordenis Ugas. I weigh-in on Pacquiao’s looming decision along with hall-of-famer @andreward on the latest State of Boxing on ESPN+. pic.twitter.com/ExssBfOWwH
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) August 29, 2021