WWE Boxing Events in Las Vegas feature the oldest statesmen in combat sports on Saturday; Pacquiao: “Thank you boxing”


By Cassandra Cousineau from LVSportsBiz.com

Photos of Tom Donoghue

When it comes to combat sports, debuts for a promotion are reserved for young people, while retirement is more often than not the choice of an older athlete. In the combat industry, it happens in an instant when no one sees it coming and then everyone sees it coming. Boxers, MMA fighters, and professional wrestlers in WWE all suffer the same fate.

We saw all types of older fighters in Las Vegas on Saturday night with historic 42-year-old boxer Manny Pacquiao against 35-year-old Cuba-born Yordenis Ugas at T-Mobile Arena.

A mile or two south of Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium, WWE SummerSlam offered its own veterans headlining starring Drew McIntyre, 36, John Cena, 44, Bobby Lashley, 45, and 54 years old. old Goldberg. There’s a reason the old folks are always headlining. They just won it through blood, sweat, box office, and Pay-Per-View dollars.

Pacquiao was set to win a guaranteed purse of $ 5 million and could reach $ 25 million in PPV money. The Fox price for the event was $ 74.99.

Veterans like Pacquiao, Cena and Lashly may not be at the peak of their athletic careers anymore, but name recognition, brand value and fan affection have value that newcomers don’t bring. simply not. SummerSlam 2021 was the biggest event of the year for WWE with 51,326 fans in attendance. Pacquiao titled ahead of an announced assist of 17,438 inside the T-Mobile Arena. Combined, that’s a draw of 68,764 between the two events.

The money and curiosity of the fans remains longer than the actual skills of the fighters. People are starting to talk about it, wondering when the gloves will be on the canvas just as a competitor hits their mid-thirties. Manny has been hearing it for years, and after his unanimous decision loss to Ugas on Saturday night, the Philippine senator couldn’t look away from the last page of an illustrious record book he had amassed. The only eight division boxing champion looked slow in his 77th professional fight.

“My legs were stretched out, they were cramping,” Pacquaio admitted at the post-fight press conference. The fluid mobility that always made his power so dangerous was not available in this fight. “In my heart, I want to continue, but I also have to consider my body. “

For the few who become champions, or even just a mainstay at any level, grinding is much like the force required to turn coal into diamonds. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about 147-pound boxing welterweights, or 6’3 ”, 250-pound professional wrestlers, the constant fighting takes its toll. Beyond the characters and number of PPVs, there are men and women who envision their career paths while managing a life out of the limelight. Currently, 43-year-old wrestler Stephen Farrelly, known to WWE fans as Shemus, is more aware than ever of how to take good care of your body. LVSportsBiz asked the now former United States champion what he thought of the retirement discussion surrounding Manny Pacquiao and whether he was considering retiring as well.

“I’m actually older than Manny Pacquiao and here I’m a champion too. So I think reaching a certain age and slowing down is just a stereotype. I don’t think this is true. If you’re hungry and passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll stay on top of your game. For my part, I am more hungry now than when I started. I have a different outlook on life. I still have a lot to do. The way you take care of yourself is also changing. I am much more aware of how I take care of my body, what I eat, and how I manage recovery on my days off. You have a better lifestyle, ”he said.

“I love doing this, and until the day I don’t have a great passion for it, I’ll be thinking about something else.” Right now I’m as passionate as I’ve ever been.

Sheamus was part of WrestleMania XVIII, the highest-grossing WWE PPV of all time. In addition to being watched by 1.2 million people in 120 countries, the 78,363 people at Sun Life Stadium in Miami generated $ 8.9 million in admissions revenue.

Scottish-born Andrew McLean Galloway, known to WWE fans as Drew McIntyre, echoed his colleague’s thoughts. “Remember, there are 52 weeks in a year. I used to have the state of mind when I was younger than I needed to have it all now. This is not the way to think. I used to think too far. Learn to take care of your health early.

He added, “I look at someone like Sheamus who is 43, or current champion Bobby Lashley who is 45 I believe, and he keeps getting younger every year. He keeps himself in incredible shape. As for me, I will wrestle for as long as I can physically at a high level. The second I can’t do that is the day I retire.

The two-time WWE Champion has also given his thoughts on Pacquiao. “When it comes to a fight like Manny Pacquaio, it’s the kind of fight I watch with people I know. I think he can stay as long as his body allows him to box. He was a great champion.

As Sheamus, Drew McInyre, and Bobby Lashley continue to challenge Father Time and advance their careers, Pacquiao ends that conversation. Pacquiao has won just about every championship he has pursued, earned a ton of money, and will be a first-time Boxing Hall of Fame member. Before the judge’s scores were announced, there was no doubt among the media in the arena that the front row view of one of the most prolific boxers in history was closing. He was outclassed by Ugas for most of the fight.

“This situation could end my boxing career,” Pacquiao said. “But this is my statement to all boxing fans around the world: the most important thing is how we can help each other, especially in this pandemic.”

As the Philippine senator contemplates his inevitable retirement from boxing, LVSportsBiz asked him what’s more important, the championships inside the ring, or what he has been able to accomplish outside of the ring. “What’s important to me at this point is how can I inspire people. I focus on how I can help people. Later when Manny Pacquio is no longer in the world, I want them to remember that Manny Pacquio is not only one of the best boxers in the world, he’s a nice guy, he’s a nice guy. , he helps people.

PacMan has a lot of plans beyond boxing. A new fight, perhaps more important, is on the horizon. He has served in the Senate since 2016 and plans to become the next President of the Philippines. Currently, the popular athlete lags behind several other candidates in the polls. He has a long way to go before the May 2022 elections.

The senator may have closed his last post-fight boxing press conference with “Thank you, boxing.” In fact, it is boxing that owes its gratitude to Manny Pacquaio.