Manny Pacquiao addresses the media at the Chelsea Piers in New York on Sept. 6.  (Filipino Reporter photo by Rene Ner)

MANILA — While World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao has shown no signs of slippage or slowing down in the ring, retirement will come sooner or later.

It’s a fact of life that boxers can’t fight forever.

Retirement is unavoidable just like taxes and death.

Pacquiao is turning 33 in December and according to Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, the Filipino icon has confided that he plans to hang up his gloves at the end of 2013 after running for governor of Sarangani province.

Arum made the disclosure during his recent visit to Manila. Gov. Luis (Chavit) Singson was at the interview and mentioned that retiring at the age of 35 would be timely.

Retirement, however, is far from Pacquiao’s mind at the moment.

He’s getting ready to stake his WBO 147-pound title against archrival Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas on Nov. 12.

If Pacquiao sticks to his regimen of engaging in two fights a year, he still has five more bouts to go before his retirement deadline.

And even when the deadline comes, it’s possible Pacquiao may decide to defer his retirement if another big fight comes along.

Arum said the queue is getting longer for contenders lining up to get a crack at Pacquiao, the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter and undisputedly the most marketable boxer this decade.

After Marquez, Arum named Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Andre Berto, Timothy Bradley and Mike Jones as opponents who could provide Pacquiao a huge pay-per-view appointment.

But first things first, Arum said.

Before anything else, Pacquiao must focus on Marquez whom Arum considers to be the best counterpuncher in the beakbusting business today.

“Marquez is coming to fight,” said Arum.

“They’ve agreed on a catchweight of 144. By the time they meet in the ring, I think there will be only a pound or two difference between them. Marquez won’t be blown-up. This is his chance to beat Manny. He’s out to win. He’s got the style that can bother Manny. I think it’ll be a heckuva fight.”

Marquez made the mistake of moving up in weight too quickly in facing Mayweather and lost a lopsided decision two years ago.

Boxing News’ Kenneth Sam-Bouhairie said the reason why Marquez took on Colombia’s Likar Ramos in a tune-up last July was to slowly bring up his weight for the Pacquiao bout.

Marquez, the World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight champion, scaled 138 pounds for Ramos and took only 1:47 to dispose of the tomato can.

“With the catchweight for the bout set at 144 pounds, he didn’t want to make the same mistake he made against Mayweather, opting instead for a ‘stay busy’ fight at 140 pounds in order to slowly build toward that weight and also to avoid the ring rust that would have accumulated by fight night,” wrote Sam-Bouhairie.

What makes Marquez a dangerous opponent for Pacquiao is he has no respect for the Filipino’s power.

He went down thrice in the opening round of their first meeting in 2004 and came back to salvage a draw.

Marquez was floored once in the third round of their 2008 rematch and also recovered only to lose on a hairline split decision.

Arum said Marquez’s ability to recover was also shown in coming back from knockdowns to beat Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis.

Arum said contrary to reports, there is no bad blood between Marquez and Pacquiao.

“Obviously, Marquez felt he should’ve won his first two fights against Manny,” continued Arum.

“He might’ve said things he regretted later. Marquez admits that Manny’s a great champion and a great fighter. I don’t think there are hard feelings. What I know is Marquez is determined to win. But then so is Manny.”

Arum said he expects the third encounter between Pacquiao and Marquez to draw “well over 1.5 million pay-per-view buys,” making it the biggest grosser in the Filipino’s career.

Pacquiao has so far figured in four over-a-million pay-per-view fights against Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito and Sugar Shane Mosley.


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