Image Cpurtesy of Boxing News

To retire or not to retire.

Manny Pacquiao faces this question again in the wake of his stunning defeat last July 1 to a comparatively greenhorn fighter, Jeff Horn of Brisbane, Australia.

Pacquiao’s fans, though, could take consolation in the fact that the loss was controversial with many boxing experts, including the ESPN announcer and commentator Stephen Smith and boxer Timothy Bradley, insisting that it was the Filipino legend who won the fight. They cried it was a hometown decision.

To the credit of Pacquiao, he was humble in defeat, commenting shortly after the fight that he accepts the judges’ decision. Later, however, he questioned the lopsided score of one of the judges (Waleska Roldan), 117-111, in favor of Horn.

Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach also called for an investigation into the scoring by  Roldan.

Pacquiao also suspected he had been set up.

He cited the handling of US referee Mark Nelson as a case in point, complaining that the Minnesota-based third man didn’t warn the rugged Horn.

“Yung referee hindi marunong. Feeling ko tuloy na-set up ako (The referee wasn’t competent. I felt I was set up),” Manila Bulleting reporter Nick Giongco quoted Pacquiao as saying.

Pacquiao alleged that Nelson was too liberal to allow Horn to use wrestling and rough tactics while he was being pinned on the ropes many times during the bruising bout.

Due to the loss, his well-meaning friends told him it is now time for him to hang his gloves.

Paquiao, 38 years old, did not rule out the possibility of his retirement from the ring, saying he will weigh in his options in the coming weeks while spending more time with his wife Jinkee and their five kids.

Even Roach advised him to quit boxing. He said he would consider advising Pacquiao to retire after a glittering 22-year professional career in which he won world titles at an unprecedented eight weight divisions.

“I’m going to talk to Manny about maybe calling it a day, maybe this is it,” Roach told reporters in Manila.

Australian boxing great and three-time world champion Jeff Fenech also called for Pacquiao, who retired briefly last year, to hang up his gloves for good this time.

“If they let Manny fight again, that’s stupid,” Fenech said. He should go relax and enjoy the money he has made. He’s got nothing to prove. Retire.”

According to CompuBox statistics, Pacquiao landed almost twice as many punches as Horn – 182 to 92. Judges American Chris Flores and Argentine Ramon Cerdan both thought it was close, but Horn had edged the fight 115-113.

Pacquiao told Philippines television: “We thought that we won this fight.”

Meanwhile in Manila, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said he believes Pacquiao should quit boxing while he is still popular. “Lesson learned: It is best to leave the stage while the audience is applauding,” Lacson wrote in his Twitter account.

“Although it is his decision, as a friend and colleague, I sincerely think it is time that he consider being a fulltime public servant,” Lacson also said.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian suggested that Pacquiao may just need to adjust his schedule now that he is juggling two responsibilities (as senator and professional boxer) that are both “mentally and physically” challenging. He believes the boxing icon is still too young to retire from the sport.

Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo said she believes that Pacquiao will get back on his feet. “Every loss is also an opportunity to get back; this has been the story of Manny Pacquiao,” Robredo said.

I believe, though, that while retirement is the best option for Pacqiuao now, there is a need to resolve the controversy over his loss to Horn. This could be done by pushing through with the rematch which both parties seem willing to do. The fight, however, should be held in a neutral place – either Macau or Las Vegas.

If Pacquiao loses in the rematch, it would remove any doubt that Horn is the better fighter. If Pacquiao wins, a third fight could settle the controversy once and for all. After the third fight, regardless of whether he wins or losses, that would be time for the Filipino legend to finally call it quits.