In his 69th fight, Manny Pacquiao is still fighting for a world title
Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao might be past his prime, but he's fighting for another championship this weekend.
The word legend is used loosely, especially in the sports world, but there can be no denying that Filipino idol Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) is the definition of a boxing legend.
He will be competing this weekend in an astonishing 69th bout against hard-hitting Lucas Mattysse (39-4, 36 Knockouts) of Argentina for the World Boxing Association World "Regular" Welterweight championship in Malaysia.
Keith Thurman holds the "Super" WBA welterweight title, but that's another story.
Pacquiao is coming off a controversial decision loss and the World Boxing Organization welterweight title to Jeff Horn last year in Australia, a fight most felt the Pac-Man had accomplished enough to win.
Horn went on to lose that title in his first defense earlier this year to Terence Crawford.
While Pacquiao is clearly not the fighter he once was, and really who has even come close, the only eight-division world champion in boxing history can still put fans in the seats and collect a nice payday.
Father time catches up to all athletes eventually and that time is here for Pacquiao, but there are still interesting match-ups out there for him, for better or for worse.
This will be his first fight without legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach and he will be utilizing his friend and first-time trainer, "Buboy" Fernandez to lead his corner.
Whispers have been heard that Pacquiao wasn't too thrilled to hear that Roach suggested it might be time for Pacquiao to call it a career after that loss to Horn, but Pacquiao has insisted he hasn't technically fired Roach.
The hard-hitting Mattysse is not exactly in his prime either so this could turn out to be an entertaining fight, even with both combatants not anywhere near what they used to be.
This particular fight has been somewhat sketchy from the beginning. The promotion has been lacking because of financial circumstances as this fight was barely made official a few weeks ago after the final money wire cleared. Initially, the plan was to showcase this bout on Pay-Per-View, but because of the late payments, there was not enough time to properly promote the bout.
This fight is being promoted by Pacquiao's own promotional company instead of his long-time promoter, Bob Arum and his company, Top Rank.
Pacquiao has also had to deal with outside distractions including his political career as he holds a position as a senator in his native country, along with his infamous entourage, which depends on him for financial support, and his many charitable contributions.
Pacquiao has refused to accept these diversions as an excuse for his loss to Horn or any type of slippage in his performances, but it is clear to any fan that he's in the final stage of his boxing career.
Arum has mentioned a possible showdown with current rising star, Vasiliy Lomachenko if he can defeat Mattysse, and the bout makes sense only for the fact that it would give Lomachenko exposure to the casual boxing fans who still recognize the star power of Pacquiao.
But it's doubtful any true boxing fan would believe that the bout would actually be competitive, as it clearly appears to be a mismatch if only based on recent performances by both fighters.
But it would surprise absolutely no one if the fight was made since it would possibly give Pacquiao one last big payday for himself. Stories of his financial issues have been no secret to anyone that follows the sport and unfortunately, a fighter competing past his prime for monetary reasons is as much a part of the boxing landscape as fake retirements.
Let's just hope Pacquiao is not misled by his generous heart and his many "friends" to believe the end of not near.
The 12 round bout will be held at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and will air live on the ESPN+ streaming app at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m PT.