Nobody really knows why Manny Pacquiao is still an active boxer at the age of 40.

It’s perplexing to any human why Pacquiao, while being a freak of nature, continues to slug it out against younger, stronger fighters at such a vulnerable age, braving the risk of a life-threatening injury despite amassing unimaginable amount of fortune and achieving accolades one could have never imagined from a guy born and raised in one of the poorest areas in the Philippines.

No matter what happens next to Pacquiao’s Boxing career, win or loss, his place among boxing greats has long been secured.

He’s an icon who defied logic by winning world titles in eight different weight divisions. The Pacman is one of only a few seminal athletes over the last two decades, whose popularity and influence transcends sports.

So what keeps Pacquiao ticking up to this point? Perhaps, it’s the pursuit of greatness that is preventing Filipino boxing champ from hanging his gloves for good. He might still have some unfinished business, a mission that, if accomplished, could make him the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time.

For Pacquiao, the road to the top of boxing’s Mount Everest will start against the winner of the Errol Spence vs. Shawn Porter fight on September 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

And yes, the Filipino could be gunning for the undisputed championship at the 147-pound weight class.

The Undisputed Championship

As great as Pacquiao has been throughout his illustrious boxing career, he has never been an undisputed champion.

Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Pernell Whittaker are just a few names of boxers who ruled their respective weight division by collecting every single major belt there is.

Pacquiao could join the exclusive circle if he decides to unify the WBC, IBF and WBO titles with his current WBA belt.

The general assumption is the Filipino will be in line to face the winner of the Spence-Porter showdown that would guarantee a three-belt contest early or late 2020. Of course, waiting in the wings is none other WBO welterweight king Terrence Crawford, who is widely considered as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today.

If Sean Gibbons and Buboy Fernandez were the ones who will decide what’s next for Pacquiao, they would obviously prefer less dangerous opponents for their 40-year-old ward. They mentioned Mikey Garcia and Danny Garcia as potential foes, though these fights aren’t as tantalizing as the unification fights with Porter, Spence or Crawford.

One Last Stand

Renowned boxing pundit Max Kellerman of ESPN is a staunch believer of Pacquiao having the case as the best pound-for-pound fighter of all time. He thinks the Filipino’s overall body of work, highlighted by world titles in eight different weight class and marquee wins over Hall of Fame fighters, would be enough to put him in the same breath as Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson.

Just imagine, what the narrative would be if Pacquiao retires with the WBC, WBO, WBA, IBF and The Ring magazine titles around his waist. I honestly believe the undisputed championship is the only missing requirement for him to really strengthen his argument as the best fighter ever.

The question now is how badly Pacquiao wants to be the best ever? Is he willing to take the risk anew and face the other kings of the 147-pound weight class? How much is left in his tank? And lastly, will it be enough to topple the Errol Spence or Terrence Crawford of the world?

All of these will only be answered by Pacquiao in the coming months. His long-time trainer Freddie Roach thinks he has 2 or 3 good fights left in him, just enough to beat Spence, Crawford, possibly Floyd Mayweather and then retire.

If Pac really pulls it off, it would be by far the greatest last stand for any fighter ever. He will be remembered forever as the fighter who dominated boxing until the very end, a feat only the greatest of all time can ever do.