Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is aware of a lucrative quirk of boxing: It’s easy to get paid for losing. That’s how he got started as a 12-year-old in the first place, by his own admission. That Pacquiao ended up having a long, successful run as a pro fighter was due to his developed talents; psychologically, he was always ready to lose.
However, there’s one way he won’t take a big L for big money. The recent run of stunt fights, from celebrity bouts to YouTubers taking on retired fighters, has garnered no love from the thoughtful boxing great. It’s a grim future for boxing if these are the only draws for the sport. Pacquiao wants no part in the ongoing circus.
Manny Pacquiao isn’t impressed by Jake and Logan Paul’s feats in the ring
In a recent GQ interview, Pacquiao laid his cards on the table regarding the Paul brothers’ incursion into boxing. “If you talk about real boxing, it’s not good,” Pacquiao stated.
Asked whether all the new eyeballs on the sport of boxing were positive, the beloved boxer was not happy. “If it’s just for fans or fundraising, it’s good,” the former welterweight champion said. “It’s good for fundraising. If you talk about serious boxing, it’s not good for boxing.”
It’s not an uncommon opinion of the Paul family’s boxing promotion. Former UFC fighter Daniel Cormier brushed off a challenge from Jake as if it was a joke. Even the fighters involved can’t hide the fact that they’re participating in a farce. Floyd Mayweather, who went the distance against Logan to a no-decision, was caught calling the fight “fake” on camera, according to Republicworld.
Pacquiao considered facing Conor McGregor
Pacquiao’s intuition tells him that no amount of money is worth stooping to the level of the Paul brothers. But this isn’t to say he shrugs off the idea of gimmick matches entirely. At least where another active, professional fighter is concerned, he is willing to play along for a big enough payday.
Sports Illustrated reports that he was scheduled to fight Conor McGregor sometime this year. Talks fell apart, as Pacquiao’s representation switched gears toward a real professional boxing match in 2021 instead. Still, given the amount of money involved — reportedly as much as $3 million for the advance alone — this bout might go down at some point in the future.
After an upset in the ring, Pacquiao may put his focus squarely on politics
Pacquiao has always relied on careful fight selection. He and his team attempt to pick fights he can win, while still providing enough of a threat that people will pay in to watch. But, as CBS Sports reports, he lost his most recent bout. The Filipino hero took two years to carefully prepare for and cut a deal for this fight. His opponent, Yordenis Ugás, had 11 days’ notice for the bout, replacing Errol Spence Jr. on the card. Even with that advantage, 42-year-old Pacquiao couldn’t keep up.
This might make YouTube stunt losses, with millions in potential earnings on the table, a viable option. Instead, Pacquiao appears to be putting even more focus on his role as a Senator in the Philippines. That could be setting the stage for a full-on Presidential run, Aljazeera reports. President Rodrigo Duterte is at the end of his six-year term. He would instead run as the Vice Presidential candidate for the upcoming election.
Duterte needs someone to run at the top of the ticket. Pacquiao is a viable option, especially after spending his two-year break from boxing focused on his role as senator. The longtime Duterte ally doesn’t want to follow the current trend of taking falls to YouTubers. So there is a legitimate chance he could instead turn his full-time focus to running for President of the Philippines instead.