|From Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images|
This appears in the Monday April 14, 2014 edition of the Business Mirror.
That glorious feeling of a Pacman win
by rick olivares
Did you wake up with that smile on your face knowing that you slept well and everything this side of the world seems to be all right (let’s forget about the Spratlys just for a second here now)? The euphoria of a Manny Pacquiao victory does that for all of us.
There’s a bounce in our step. We go, “Yeah, Manny!” And once more we can make Floyd Mayweather Jr. jokes.
Let me relish that because for a while, I thought I wouldn’t get to savor that Pacman winning feeling again.
With every straight jab, roundhouse right, and uppercut, I bobbed my head, ducked or stepped back although not in perfect synchronicity with Manny Pacquiao. With the specter of those two losses from a couple of years ago still in everyone’s head (come on, the Brandon Rios fight was the mismatch a lot of people felt it was going to be) there was that fear that this could be the last if he lost again. So you must get the idea that I was worried for Pacquiao.
The early rounds lent that some weight as Pacman took Timothy Bradley’s measure before firing those howitzer rights. That left me to wonder, where are those combinations? The speed?
I know Manny’s become a smarter boxer and isn’t his old self who would wade in with guns blazing so patience is now a virtue for a boxer like him. I conceded that but noted that while he looked to be fit and superbly conditioned, he wasn’t the chiseled sort that he was on his way to eight world titles years ago.
In the early rounds, Manny was reduced to counterpunching as Bradley went after him. Pacman even got rocked and was off his feet for a split second when he got tagged, hence, my fearful bobbing and weaving.
The Pacman rebounded by landing some hard shots and Bradley responded by playing rope-a-dope. The Desert Storm displayed great dexterity in avoiding getting pounded while on the ropes and Manny couldn’t connect. Bradley was obviously trying to sucker Pacman in and do a Juan Manuel Marquez – meaning the sensational knockout punch. Pacman was wise – let Bradley bob and weave and keep his head down low because no way is he going to be about to throw an effective uppercut form that position.
With Bradley’s reticence to mix it up after they went past the middle rounds, Manny began to fight more confidently. That flurry of punches that he landed on Bradley was classic Pacman but it was few and far in between. But he was certainly boxing better – the type that scores well on a judge’s scorecard.
The other concern was how Manny no longer brutalizes opponents and fades away in the latter rounds. That is why I was glad to see him finish the fight strong.
Of course, I have to point out how Bradley’s corner bungled their approach to the game. It seemed incredulous that they were telling Tim that he was winning when it was painfully clear that he was not. If he was hoping to stand and deliver in the 12th round then that was too late.
Post-match, Bradley said that “Tonight, he (Pacquiao) was the better boxer.” It was later revealed that Bradley injured his calf in the first round thereby limited his mobility but he never blamed that on the outcome.
Even during the first fight, Manny was the better boxer. The late round slippage and the judges, of course, took it away from him.
This time, Manny fought not only better but also a whole lot smarter. He made sure he would not sucker punched and he would finish strong.
With Floyd Mayweather still in a galaxy far far away and retirement still two years away (that’s what Pacman said in the post-match interview), there’s talk of taking on the winner of the Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvardo fight.
And that has me thinking… a fifth fight with Marquez? Hmm. Payback’s a….
Ah, can we just celebrate this win by Pacman? It’s a huge win. Not only can we say he’s back on track taking names and kicking butt but he has an opportunity to go out on his terms and erase that devastating picture of him lying down on the canvas after Marquez decked him.
It sure feels good to have that familiar feeling of being atop the world.