Manny Pacquiao
At 40, Pacquiao’s more positive than ever
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - December 17, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao turns 40 today but who’s counting? The MP bandwagon keeps rolling and there’s no telling when it’ll stop. Eventually, perhaps sooner than later, the train will grind to a halt and when that time comes, it’ll be a sad day for boxing to mark the end of the Pacman era. Until then, Pacquiao continues to amaze fans all over the globe with his incredible fighting heart, grit and athletic ability.

No question, Pacquiao will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame where so far, only three Filipinos – Pancho Villa, Flash Elorde and promoter Lope (Papa) Sarreal, Sr. – are enshrined in Canastota, New York. That will happen five years after Pacquiao retires from the ring, whenever that is. The biggest argument for his induction is the feat of capturing eight world titles in eight different divisions, something no man will conceivably surpass or even duplicate in any generation. Someone once called Pacquiao “a freak of nature” but he’ll go down in history as the renaissance fighter who symbolized the triumph of the human spirit more than for his unnatural superheroism.

In boxing history, several fighters continued to ply their trade beyond 40. Bernard Hopkins was 46 when he wrested the WBC lightheavyweight crown in 2011, 48 when he took the IBF version and 49 when he annexed the WBA belt. The Executioner was 51 when he retired in 2016 with a record of 55-8-2, including 32 KOs. George Foreman was 45 when he poleaxed Michael Moorer in the 10th round to claim the IBF/WBA heavyweight unified championship in 1994 and retired at 47 in 1997 with a record of 76-5, including 68 KOs. Foreman’s record was 17-3, with 12 KOs, after turning 40.

One of the greatest boxers ever, Sugar Ray Robinson compiled a 30-10-3 record, with 15 KOs, after turning 40 and retired at 44 in 1965 with a record of 174-19-6, including 109 KOs. Former lightheavyweight titleholder Archie Moore was 47 when he saw action in his last fight in 1963 and retired with a record of 186-23-10, including 132 KOs. 

Roberto Duran, now 67, was 50 when he ended his career in 2001, losing a 12-round decision to Macho Camacho. He registered a record of 18-7, with 9 KOs, after turning 40 and wound up with an overall slate of 103-16, with 70 KOs. Larry Holmes posted a record of 21-3, with 10 KOs, after turning 40 and retired at 52 in 2002. Former WBC superlightweight champion Saoul Mamby was 60 when he ended his boxing career in 2008 with a record of 45-34-6, including 18 KOs. Mamby, now 71, may be the oldest fighter ever. British middleweight Steve Ward was 59 when he quit the ring in 2015.

To Pacquiao, age is just a number. For as long as the juices are still flowing, Pacquiao will continue fighting and bringing honor to the country. He’s set to stake his WBA crown against four-time world champion Adrien Broner of Cincinnati at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Jan. 19 and a convincing win will bring him closer to a rematch with unbeaten Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Pacquiao has won three of his last four outings, the only loss a highly disputed decision to Jeff Horn in 2017, and his record now stands at 60-7-2, with 39 KOs. He’s been a pro since 1995. Pacquiao is positive that his final years in the ring will be the highlight of his celebrated boxing career.

As a public servant, Pacquiao is a hard-working senator. Time management is what he applies in juggling his responsibilities in the Senate and as a world boxing champion. As a family man, he enjoys a close relationship with his wife Jinkee and their five children, Jimuel, Michael, Princess, Queenie and Israel. Sundays are special for the Pacquiaos as they go to church together. Pacquiao never fails to make time for his family.

Matt Christie, editor of the London weekly trade magazine Boxing News, said now more than ever, it’s time to revere Pacquiao. “Appreciate every moment, every smile and every frenzied attack,” he wrote. “Because this modern great will not be around for much longer. And we may never see his kind again. A man who has made a career out of thrilling his fans and defying the odds. Out of rising in weight and taking on the best rivals available to him. Out of sumptuous skill and dazzling speed. Let us appreciate Manny Pacquiao.”

Pacquiao is in the record books as the fighter who retired Oscar de la Hoya, Tim Bradley and Lucas Matthysse. But while retirement is something he has inflicted, it’s not on his mind at the moment. Nobody will know when it’s time for Pacquiao to hang up his gloves except himself. As he celebrates his 40th birthday today, Pacquiao is the oldest active world champion and looking forward to more productive years in making a positive impact on humanity.

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