By Reni M. Valenzuela
There is never a tomorrow similar to the days gone by.
But some boxing “experts” got it wrong for Manny Pacquiao as if tomorrow may never come. Pacman is not finished yet. Don’t count him out just because of the “disappointing” one night showdown he had with Juan Manuel Marquez in their trilogy bout. The dawning of better days await the Filipino pugilist.
No, the fighting congressman is not going down. Nothing has changed in him as a competitive boxer, though politics has probably started to take its toll to wreck him as a person. He is the same Pacman in boxing who amazed all of us; the continuing saga of a poor boy from GenSan who left his street vending work and navigated unknown lands of the titans to annihilate giant dwellers Mosley, De La Hoya, Cotto, Hatton, Clottey, Margarito, Ledhwaba, Morales and Barrera. Pacquiao remains to be the icon who captured the world’s imagination with his speed, power and prayer and by being the only boxer in history to conquer eight championship titles in different divisions.
Pacquiao is unique and his story is yet to climax.
The dictum “You are only as good as your last performance” is only as good as the usually flawed perception in the mind of the general public but not good enough to belittle a true champion and belie the fact that “the best is yet to come” to one who has his “tools” intact to win even greater battles ahead after despairing setbacks. The dictum is certainly not true for an athlete who would learn his lessons in defeat or who would defeat his “astigmatism” in winning amid the noise of condemnations or praises by loud bias people and narrow-minded fanatics.
Let it be known to all: It was not Manny Pacquiao who fought last November 12 as much as Juan Manuel Marquez was not the boxer that Pacquiao fought on the same day, in the same ring. That was as far as Pacquiao’s vision has afforded him to see during the fight. What we witnessed was the shadow of the “one-two-combination-punch-fighter-Pacquiao” of four years ago when he fought Marquez the second time. While the Marquez who showed up for Pacquiao was not the real Marquez but merely his “Dinamita” ghost from the earlier two fights in lower divisions. Though Marquez has visibly improved in some ways.
It was all “shadow” vs. “ghost” for Pacquiao, but it was clearly a boxing matchup for Marquez between him and Pacquiao all throughout the twelve rounds. No wonder Pacman groped for his true form in each round but to no avail, while Dinamita was effective, hitting accurately in his offense and counter punching as he landed more telling blows and heavy punches. Marquez had the focus and better look that night.
Pacquiao was neither under-trained nor over-trained in the fight. His camp was simply under vague impression of him and Marquez. As a consequence, the Pacquiao trainers took the wrong path and employed the wrong course to prepare their man. Besides, the “confident” Pacquiao was bothered with a lot of “sidetrippings” brought about by his association with mammoth dubious “supporters” around him. He was out of “right focus” and was not in himself during the fight because of a number of major personal issues, (you know..)
The real Pacquiao was missing in the fight last November 12, might be somewhere in Las Vegas dens or in his dimly lit closets back home in the Philippines. Pacquiao’s indiscretions and distractions had caused him dearly. They made his eyes see nothing beyond “ghosts” and “shadows” which led him to act as one while figuring in a literal boxing contest with Marquez the challenger. Hence the 10-1 odd for the favorite boxer was overturned to become 3-1 underdog odd against the same boxer in the actual fight.
Now that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is eager to come to terms fighting Pacquiao, what are they waiting for?
But just as I believe that the highly anticipated mega bout between Pacquiao and Mayweather should be next for Pacquiao, the Pacquiao-Marquez IV is a much more important matchup, but which fight must take place as a redefining moment for Pacquiao after the Mayweather blockbuster or else the two events could serve to be anti-climactic to each other. And this is how I see It is going to be in the coming year for the three superb boxers – to prove anew that styles indeed make fights in light of the reality that Manny is still Manny while Floyd is not JMM and JMM is not Floyd:
Pacquiao will rout Mayweather in a sensational win. Then Pacquiao will finally put to rest all the questions about Marquez during their fourth battle by resolving his inner battles first – to get back on track and by coming up with an excellent game plan that would provide him a number of “explosive openings” to knock out Marquez spectacularly, using his speed and flurry of power punches as a versatile southpaw and fully evolved pound-for-pound king he has always been for the past few years.
So in the end, Pacman would shine even much brighter and would be reestablished on the top spot for good, unchallenged.
The Pacquiao-Marquez III was a nightmare for Pacman. Destiny clipped his wings. But that was yesterday. If he is able to tackle correctly his struggles of today to become one and complete again, watch him tomorrow.