The fix was in, but Manny Pacquiao was too gracious to complain. Instead, he accepted his defeat to virtual unknown Jeff Horn the other day, never mind that CompuBox scores validated the eye test and had him landing twice as many punches as his supposed tormentor. Apart from the three blind mice that posed as hometown judges, all and sundry knew he was robbed, not unlike how Timothy Bradley gained an unearned belt in 2012. And yet there was nary a sliver of protest from him.

In part, Pacquiao’s acceptance of his fate stems from his innately fatalist character. In larger measure, it was no doubt because he already got what he wanted; the unfavorable outcome notwithstanding, it came with an eight-figure paycheck and the promise of another big-bucks bonanza via a guaranteed rematch. Not bad for a 38-year-old who left his best in the last decade, and whose status as a “public servant” belied his intentions to keep cashing in with his fists.

Ideally, Pacquiao would have hung his gloves at his peak, his legacy as the best pound-for-pound pugilist of his generation — and perhaps of all time — secure and beyond contestation. As with countless other sportsmen who continue to harbor notions of stardom way past their primes, however, he has clung to the unsupported belief that he can still contribute to his greatness inside the ropes. Certainly, the lure and allure of fame and fortune have much to do with his stubbornness; time and again he has pledged retirement, and time and again he has proven his word to be of no value.

Which is too bad, really, because Pacquiao once had the adulation of his countrymen and the respect of his peers. Now, he’s left to do battle with handpicked patsies he can’t even dispose of properly; forget that, in his chase of the almighty greenback, he has been neglecting his duties as a duly elected official. Time was when he didn’t confuse his version of public service with politics. Now, whether in shorts or in a suit, he’s aimless and totally devoid of substance. When he invokes Jesus’ name to promote a legislative measure imposing the death penalty anew, or when he insists that members of the LGBT community deserve to be stoned to death, he shows his true colors. He’s not driven by empathy; he doesn’t have it. And he is, in the final analysis, his own worst enemy.

Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is the Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Basic Energy Corp.