With his victory over Lucas Matthysse on Saturday, Manny Pacquiao made up for a surprising unanimous decision loss last year to Jeff Horn, and won the World Boxing Association welterweight championship in grand fashion, also picking up his first knockout victory in nine years. As such, many have been calling for the 39-year-old Filipino boxing legend to retire from the sport, including Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
As noted in a report from Boxing Scene, Duterte was in Malaysia on Saturday night to support Pacquiao in his fight against Matthysse, whom he knocked down in the third, fifth, and seventh rounds, en route to a technical knockout win over the French pugilist. Commenting on the fight he had just watched, Duterte said that Manny Pacquiao should retire on a high note, considering that his win over Matthysse marked his first knockout win since his victory over Miguel Cotto in 2009.
“I’d like to see my friend rest on his laurels at this time and enjoy life,” Duterte told ABS-CBN News.
“[Pacquiao] has so much money already, no problem. I have no regrets that I came earlier to watch the fight. It’s a good one, it’s the first time that I have traveled outside the Philippines just to see him fight.”
Talk of Manny Pacquiao possibly retiring from boxing is nothing new, as are comments suggesting that the eight-division champion might have lost his killer instinct, hence the lack of knockouts prior to the Lucas Matthysse fight. In 2014, veteran Filipino sportswriter Joaquin Henson wrote an op-ed for the Philippine Star that suggested Pacquiao had switched to a more intelligent, cautious style of boxing, but also quoted his most recent opponent at the time, American boxer Timothy Bradley, who said that he had lost respect for Pacquiao because had become “more compassionate toward his opponents.”
More recently, Scott Christ of Bad Left Hook posited last year that Pacquiao should have won over Jeff Horn in the latter’s home country of Australia, but added that “Pac-Man” should retire, given that he had recently become a Philippine senator and how boxing didn’t seem to be “truly in him” anymore.
Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao has yet to make any retirement announcement or comment on Duterte’s suggestion that he take stock of his many accomplishments and walk away from the sport of boxing. He did, however, comment positively on Duterte, calling him a “good president” when he was interviewed after his win over Matthysse, as noted by Boxing Scene.