When it comes to sports, an athletes prime depends on the years of punishment their body has taken throughout their career.
Some athletes retiring younger than others. It all comes down to the ability to avoid injury, to stay disciplined and to live a healthy lifestyle. The most important aspect is passion, there needs to be hunger in the belly to continue on.
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao has been boxing for over 21 years, and his body has been through brutal wars but somehow at forty years of age he fights like a man in his twenties. This man is a full-time Senator in the Philippines but can still make time to train and box.
In sports they call these type of people “special,” they are individuals who are able to last well into their 30s and early 40s.
In football you have Tom Brady who is in his early 40s but still competing at a high level, in basketball you have Vince Carter, in baseball you have Ichiro Suzuki, all were still able to compete in their forties.
Boxing is a very brutal sport, and only a handful of fighters of this era were able to compete against the top boxers well into their late 30s and early 40s. Bernard Hopkins was considered the freak boxer of this era, because he was well into his late 40s fighting younger opponents in their late 20s to early 30s.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao the two best boxers of this generation are both in their 40s, but only one is still competing at the highest level.
Mayweather knocked out a tiny Japanese kickboxer named Tenshin Nasukawa in what was supposed to be an exhibition bout in Tokyo, and before that he had a freak show boxing match against UFC fighter Conor McGregor. He hasn’t fought a legit boxer since beating a washed up Andre Berto in 2015.
Pacquiao, however, has been fighting nothing but young hungry lions. Since his loss to Floyd Mayweather, he fought and beat Tim Bradley, Jessie Vargas, lost his WBO title to Jeff Horn in a controversial decision, knocked out Lucas Matthysse in July to win the WBA belt, and is fighting Adrien Broner on January 19th.
What makes Pacquiao special is his ability to fight with an aggressive and offensive style. When lighter weight boxers lose their stamina, speed and reflexes by the age of 30, he was able to keep it.
It’s not normal for a smaller fighter to move up from flyweight to welterweight and still maintain their speed and power, but in Manny’s case he not only maintained his speed but he generated more power as he moved up in weight.
He is a true genetic specimen. A lot of the Mayweather fans were calling him a steroid user because they couldn’t believe a small Filipino could compete with much larger fighters and break their faces.
Pacman has passed every drug test and has never been linked to or associated with any PED or steroid dealers. People need to finally realize just how special he is and accept that he is a natural talent.
The great Pacman is a one in a lifetime fighter. At 40, he is still the most exciting offensive boxer out there. Pacman is still a buzzsaw who throws crazy punches from weird angles. The only active boxer to move similar is Vasyl Lomachenko but he doesn’t have the same punch power that Pacman does.
There is a huge possibility that he can age overnight and lose to Broner, but as of now I am still intrigued to see if he is able to beat a 29-year-old at this stage of his career.
My recommendation to those who are reading this is to make sure to watch Manny Pacquiao vs. Adrien Broner on Saturday, January 19th because win, loser or draw, this might be the last time you see the future hall of famer in action.
Erwin Lastimosa is a long time boxing fan and enjoys boxing discussion with his peers. Some of his favorite fighters are Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Muhammad Ali, Flash Elorde, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao.