There's a saying: "You can never go home again."
While some choose to interpret this timeless quote literally, there is a figurative meaning as well.
There are times and places in our lives to which we can never return to no matter how hard we're gripped by nostalgia.
Sports Illustrated writer Greg Bishop had the following to say about the manner of Pacquiáo's victory:
Pacquiáo and his handlers and his promoters spent all week, spent months, really, emphasizing the importance of aggression and brutality and, ultimately, a knockout. Pacquiáo, for all the skill he displayed again on Saturday, never came close to that.
Bishop also commented that the Pacquiáo of old had been "been replaced by an older one."
There was no controversy this time as Manny Pacquiao won a unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley. http://t.co/ZJXYfs9qP5
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 13, 2014
Rampaging youths in boxing are always replaced by older versions. It happened to the great Muhammad Ali whose late boxing career is often blamed for his Parkinson's ailments. It happened to George Foreman, Oscar De La Hoya, and countless others.
Boxers will age out of the sport at some point in their lives.
The window of time allowed for greatness in any physical and competitive sport is always a small one. Some boxers never reach the level of fame they desire and retire with nothing to show for all their abilities.
The "Pacman" of today defeated Bradley with a unanimous decision and reclaimed the WBO welterweight belt he has long missed.
Champion again! Manny Pacquiao beats Timothy Bradley in unanimous decision, winning WBO Welterweight Title. pic.twitter.com/oZ67vyvaK3
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 13, 2014
It's true he didn't knock Bradley out. However, three different judges agreed that he outboxed his opponent.
It was never going to be an easy match for Pacquiáo, regardless of what he or anyone else thought. It was a hard fought victory and a well earned one at that.
No, Pacquiáo will never again step into the ring as the man he once was. Should he retire without facing Floyd Mayweather Jr., some boxing fans will no doubt mourn what could have been.
It's doubtful that this will be anywhere near the forefront of Pacquiáo's mind as he heads back to the Philippines to welcome a fifth child.
Pacquiáo cannot return to his past form and glory, but he will go home again—as a victor and champion.
Image via Wikimedia Commons