Prior to the rematch of Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, Filipinos wanted to believe all the media hype that our beloved PacMan was recovering his deadly form. The media hype somehow also wanted us to believe that come fight night, we could see the version of Pacquiao who stopped Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Well, Pacquiao won via a wide margin, but the PacMan was no longer a buzzsaw, and the one-punch knockout or knockdown power that mowed down fighters like Hatton, Cotto and Shane Mosley was clearly absent in the Bradley fight. I felt sad. Very sad.
Going into the Bradley fight, I felt that Pacquiao could have a “second coming,” or that he could bring back his once-deadly form. That was not impossible, but I really did not know if I was asking too much.
And when fight night came, I was thankful Bradley’s camp has not found the formula to increase its ward’s punching power.
Just imagine if instead of Bradley, Pacquiao faced a more formidable or determined opponent like Danny Garcia or Keith Thurman. Or Floyd Mayweather Jr. I shudder at the thought.
I will surely get a lot of crap for what I have said in the previous paragraphs, but let’s face it—boxing is a young man’s game and very few fighters can maintain their peak well into their mid or late 30s. Let’s name a few of them—Bernard Hopkins, Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko and Mayweather. I had wished years back Pacquiao was on that list.
Amid all the rejoicing over Pacquiao’s “revenge” win over Bradley comes the nagging question: Where does PacMan go from here? A fight with Mayweather? Well, I would be the first to clamor for that if what I saw in the second Bradley fight was the “second coming” of the PacMan. What I wanted to see was Pacquiao decking Bradley once or twice, sending him to dreamland similar to what he did to Hatton, bloodying the American’s face reminiscent of what he did to Cotto, or scaring the hell out of the American for the whole of the fight. I saw none of those.
A fight with either Garcia or Thurman is also ill advised, and I think Pacquiao’s camp won’t ever think of that. Garcia, the 26-year-old World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association (WBA) and The Ring light welterweight champion, is a relentless fighter, and still sports an unblemished record of 28 wins with 16 knockouts.
Thurman, the knockout artist who is the interim WBA welterweight champion, has 22 wins with 20 knockouts.
What I do not want to see is Pacquiao being used as a stepping stone by up-and-coming fighters like Garcia and Thurman, among others. And let us all remember that Pacquiao on his way to the top beat future Hall-of-Famers during his younger days. That is the cruel rule of boxing – aging fighters must give way to younger boxers or face dire consequences. We can sugarcoat it as “changing of the guard.” But in reality, it’s simply saying “your time is up.”
I can join the rejoicing over Pacquiao’s win and egg him to go on fighting. But feeding an aging fighter’s ego so he will fight on is one terrible sin that can lead to tragic consequences. And the media can be faulted for that, sometimes.
We have many great fighters who were egged on to keep on fighting, and many of them ended with a string of losses toward the end of their careers. Some even suffered terrible consequences, like Muhammad Ali ending up with Parkinson’s disease. Need I say more? Besides, Jinkee, Pacquiao’s wife, wants her husband to retire now. I think the PacMan had better listen to his wife.