Mendoza: Pacquiao and Venus: Retire or plod on?

Al S. Mendoza

MANNY Pacquiao is 38 and he is still fighting.

Venus Williams is 37 and she is still a fierce tennis competitor.

In boxing, 38 is considered old already.

It showed when Pacquiao fought Jeff Horn on July 2.

Pacquiao was a bit slow already.

Gone was his foot speed that used to run rings around a foe.

His rapid fire punches that keyed up knockouts, if not knockdowns, were no more.

His faculties, razor-sharp in his hey day, were barely visible.

He was not fully trained, his Senate duties got in the way?

But be that as it may, I still saw Pacquiao the winner over Horn in their controversy-marred fight some two weeks ago in the Battle in Brisbane in Australia.

He landed the more precise, power-packed punches than Horn.

Horn’s win was not clear-cut.

His unanimous decision victory was even tainted by a lousy officiating that saw the referee let Horn get away with crime: Wrestling, grappling, locking Pacquiao down through a bizarre neck-press.

The least that referee Mark Nelson could have down was warn Horn, if not once, twice, for illegal arm-locks.

And had Nelson inflicted points deductions on Horn for roughhousing tactics, he would have been justified.

Oh, well, a rematch is almost a certainty now.

And, should it finally happen in November, can we expect a different Pacquiao, one who is fully prepared and focused on the fight—like the Pacquiao of old?

Hopefully. But then, a referee not in the mold of Nelson must also be tapped to ensure fair officiating. Otherwise, Horn will just repeat history, using his illegal-laden brawling style to again steal victory.

As to Venus Williams, she let history slip by when she blew two set points in the first set against Garbine Muguruza on Saturday night.

That keyed Muguruza’s straight-set victory as Venus hobbled in the second set, the stigma of the first-set debacle becoming too much of a deadweight for the American legend seeking her third Wimbledon crown.

Muguruza, using all the power of her 23-year-old Spanish knees, appeared unforgiving as she proved once more that youth, when properly harnessed, can prove lethal against an aging enemy.

Like Pacquiao, Venus, the Wimbledon winner in 2000 and 2008, has nothing to prove anymore. Retire?