When Manny Pacquiao climbs the ring to face Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas today, the Filipino boxing icon needs to leave behind the Christian traits of compassion and mercy and regain the aggressive stance that earned decisive victories in the past.
Pacquiao’s long-time trainer, Freddie Roach, is the first to admit that the 35-year-old fighter has lost the killer instinct since he became a born-again Christian almost two years ago. It is this seeming reluctance to inflict pain on his opponents that is being blamed for Pacquiao’s back-to-back losses to Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Now Roach is trying to re-ignite the fire in his fighter, and the outcome of the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch will determine how successful he was in his mission.
International boxing referee and judge Danrex Tapdasan believes that Pacquiao, who totes a 55-5-2 win-loss-draw slate, must be made to realize that it is not un-Christian to beat a foe in the ring.
“As correctly pointed out by Freddie Roach, it’s not all mercy and compassion that is written in the Bible,” Tapdasan told The Manila Times on Saturday. “There are parts in the Bible where it is written that bravery and courage are also teachings of the Lord.”
“My opinion is that God allows this kind of activity as long as the boxers follow the written rules and don’t cheat their opponent,” he continued.
“We’re all human beings and Manny has been compassionate to some opponents and it’s just, like, he doesn’t feel that he needs to hurt people just as long as he wins the fight,” Roach told reporter Lem Satterfield of RingTV.com.
“I told him, ‘Manny, we just can’t do that because if you knocked out Marquez around earlier, then you getting knocked out would have never happened.”
Tapdasan is confident Pacquiao could beat the 31-year-old Bradley, who has not lost in his 31 fights, and wrest back the World Boxing Organization welterweight belt.
“It’s just a matter of putting things in proper perspective. Boxing is a sport where the rules allow the fighters to hurt each other,” he said.
“According to Pacquiao, his primary goal in fighting is to entertain people, especially his countrymen. They always clamor for a brutal ending to his fights so he thinks he has the responsibility to do his best to grant their wishes,” Tapdasan added.