It was for charity.
That’s the best way to defend Manny Pacquiao’s pay-per-view exhibition with martial artist and social media star DK Yoo on Saturday in Seoul, South Korea.
The future Hall of Famer, reportedly 160 pounds, threw some serious punches — putting his inexperienced opponent down a few times — but the matchup of 43-year-olds was mostly fun and games.
It had the feel of a reunion during the introductions, with familiar faces on hand. His wife, his mother, his longtime sidekick Buboy Fernandez, among others.
There were more smiles than you’d see at a comedy club.
Manny Pacquiao on facing Floyd Mayweather Jr in a exhibition fight “I don’t know, cause he’s always changing his decision” pic.twitter.com/h6eASokHhj
— Kris Pangilinan (@KrisReports) December 11, 2022
The “fight” itself was at best mildly amusing, although Pacquiao seemed to pursue a knockout late in the fight, composed of six two-minute rounds.
He put Yoo down at the final seconds of Round 4 with a flurry of punches, after which the ref seemed to wave off the fight only to change his mind after Yoo protested.
Pacquiao got Yoo’s attention with a few shots in Round 5, which prompted the good spirited Korean fighter to do his version of an Ali shuffle. That elicited a grin from Pacquiao.
Then, in the final round, Pacquiao put Yoo down with what appeared to be a genuinely hard left to the body. Yoo, at least somewhat hurt and exhausted, got up but it was obvious he was hoping to hear the final bell sooner rather than later.
Yoo went down one more time but again managed to get up and then finally did hear the bell to end the exhibition, much to his relief.
Pacquiao was declared the winner by decision but the true winners were the Ukrainian and Filipino charities that benefitted from the event, although some fans probably found pleasure seeing their hero step through the ropes one more time.
Pacquiao, who said he plans to continued training, was asked afterward whether he’d take part in another exhibition next year. He turns 44 on Dec. 17.
He responded, “We’ll see.”
The most lucrative possible matchup would be a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, only in the form of an exhibition. Many have speculated that the money on the table might bring them together one more time.
Pacquiao was asked about that possibility.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I have no idea. He always changes his decision.”
You can bet we’ll see Pacquiao in the ring again even if we’re not familiar with the opponent. He obviously had fun. And he remains dedicated to helping others.