Philippine media pundits put pressure on Manny Pacquiao to retire after his heavy defeat in Las Vegas, with one comparing him to Parkinson's disease sufferer Muhammad Ali.
The southpaw, who turns 34 on Monday, has vowed to fight on. But many suspect that nearly 18 years of professional combat are now taking their toll on the man once seen by many as the world's finest pound-for-pound fighter. "Pacquiao got hit hard, but in the end he was conquered by Father Time after it turned out he could no longer take a solid punch," wrote sports columnist Recah Trinidad in the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper.
Pacquiao, who fought his way out of poverty and is now immensely wealthy, controversially lost his World Boxing Organisation welterweight crown to US fighter Timothy Bradley in June. Television commentator Ronnie Nathanielsz said that while Pacquiao wants a shot at redeeming himself, there was always the danger that too many punches could condemn him to the fate of his US coach, ex-fighter Freddie Roach.
"The sight of Roach himself riddled by Parkinson's disease and the great heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, wracked by the disease, sends shivers among many who care deeply for Pacquiao," Nathanielsz wrote in the Manila Standard. Philippine Olympic Committee vice-president Joey Romasanta said that Pacquiao should have quit after his last winning title defence in November last year, when he retained his WBO welterweight crown against his old foe Marquez, now 39.
"It would have been nice if he had retired while he was ahead. In boxing, there will always be somebody better. After this loss, Manny should read the signs and consider these things," Romasanta told the Manila Bulletin.