In sports, more success comes with higher expectations. And when you become a superstar and spoil the fans with consistent great performances, the level of expectations becomes almost impossible to reach.
The athlete can be past the prime of his career, and many fans still expects him or her to perform as if he was 21 years old. Manny Pacquiao has had a great career and is arguably the best fighter of his era. He's only lost twice in the past seven years, one with the once great Erik Morales and his latest loss coming via a controversial decision against Bradley, yet many have began wondering if the Pacman is on the decline.
But the question shouldn't be whether Pacquiao is on the decline, but how much has he declined. Pacquiao is 34 years old, a few years past the peak of most fighter's career, combine that with his aggressive style and history of fighting elite opponents, it's shouldn't come as a surprise that he is probably on the latter part of his career.
However, people shouldn't overlook Pacquiao because even though he is definitely past his prime, his great physical attributes should allow him to still be competitive and provide fans with more exciting moments in the sports of boxing. If Pacquiao played football, he is a wide receiver who use to run a 4.3 in the forty yard dash, but now runs only a 4.4. Sure he's slower, but still faster that many of his contemporaries.
Pacquiao is past his prime, but he still owns two of the faster hands in his division and as we say in boxing, the power is always the last to go. In addition, his stamina may not be the same as it was in the lower division, but he can still go toe to toe all twelve rounds with almost everyone since his stamina was on another level compared to his peers during his 'prime'.
Also what analysts or fans should realize is while Pacquiao has not been knocking out people lately, he had been entering the ring as the much smaller man in most of his recent fights and his opponents have not been exactly been 'bums.' Three of his last few opponents such as Margarito, Mosley, and Bradley have solid chins and the latter is a young, hungry fighter, who gave everything he had in training to prepare himself for the Filipino icon.
More importantly, his close fight with Marquez should not have come as a surprise since they are rivals. In a rivalry, whether it be in individual or team sports, people tend to rise up to the occasions and become extra motivated. It's like the Boston Red Sox vs. Yankees, it doesn't matter if the Red Sox's record is 100-1 and the Yankees 1-100, you can never predict who will come out victorious. Also, to become a rival, you have to have a history of facing each other, which leads to familiarity. By now, both Pacquiao and Marquez probably knows what the other is about to do even before the other thinks about it
Still, there is no doubt that age has caught up with Pacquiao, but it has not been the main factor in his 'supposed' unimpressive wins against Mosley, Marquez and loss to Bradley.
The problem is Pacquiao has given himself limited time to concentrate on boxing. First, many would probably agree that having a large entourage for an athlete can become a distraction. Too many people whispering in your ears can sometimes cause erroneous decisions. Sure, many athletes have entourages and it doesn't seem to have an affect on their performances, but the difference is Pacquiao has multiple entourages, from his boxing, celebrity friends as well as collegues in politics.
Also, boxing is not Pacquiao's 'life' anymore since he has ventured into many things such as the entertainment industry and politics. Imagine if Michael Jordan hosted a daily show on TV, while being in the Senate and playing for the Bulls. Do you think he would have won six championship?
The answer is no because unlike many athletes who chooses to dabble occasionally in other avenues such as entertainment, Pacquiao's other activities can be considered a full time job. He's not just doing cameo appearances but has his own show game show. Sure it's only shown every Saturday, but it requires time for preparation and rehearsals as well as traveling.
Also, how many times have we heard that being a coach or a general manager of a team requires long hours and being away from your family for long periods of time. But just imagine being a congressman, who is responsible for reviewing and passing laws as well as ensuring the livelihood of many people.
Boxing is too a year round job. Sure the 'elite' fighters may fight only once or twice a year, but too keep themselves in top tier shape, they must confine themselves to a strict diet and training routine all year. Training has become a science in this era, where athletes are stronger and faster in comparison to their contemporaries in the past. Most superstars have top paid trainers such as Tim Grover, to ensure that their body is prepared to the rigorous pounding from their respective sports. Does Pacquiao even have one in the Philippines or does he just work out on his own? Does he even have the time?
Most people such as myself, who have families and a full time job sometimes already find it hard to juggle all the responsibilities, just imagine having all the responsibilities that Pacquiao has chosen to accept.
I know money can make life easier, but only to a certain point. Pacquiao may be able to pay for multiple nannies and assistants, but to expect him to be able to concentrate 100 percent to each of his responsibilities is almost foolish. He is only human and there is only 24 hours in a day. So until Pacquiao chooses to limit his range of responsibilities, one of them is always bound to suffer. Except this time, boxing shouldn't be the priority since a 'poor' performance as a Congressman can have a more negative impact than any loss inside the ring.