By John F. McKenna (McJack)
2011 is a year that WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO’s) would most probably like to forget. It could also be referred to as Manny’s year of discontent. His fights with Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez were both huge financial successes. But “Pacman” fell far short of what was expected of him in a pugilistic sense.
Pacquiao’s bout with former great, but now badly faded Shane Mosley in May was not the thriller that boxing fans had expected. It was widely believed at the time the fight took place that Manny and his trainer Freddie Roach originally did not want Mosely as his opponent. It is also thought that Top Rank CEO Bob Arum prevailed on Pacquiao and Roach to accept Shane as an opponent because of his huge fan base and that Arum would take care of selling the fight.
Pacquiao normally makes an estimated $20 million a fight, mainly due to the amount of money Pay Per View (PPV) buys brings in. Arum got his way and Manny wound up fighting the 39 year old Mosley. The fight wound up being a huge disappointment mainly because after Pacquiao floored Mosley in the 3rd round, Shane chose not to engage and went into full survival mode for the balance of the fight.
Many boxing observers pointed out that Manny did not exhibit his normal side to side and lateral movement during the fight. It was later revealed that “Pacman” suffered from leg cramping during the match hampering his mobility. Despite winning nearly every round Manny’s performance was disappointing.
Then in November the long awaited rematch between Pacquiao and his longtime nemesis WBO/WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez took place. It was the 3rd meeting between the two with both previous fights ending in controversy. The first fight was scored as a draw and Manny won the 2nd fight by a razor thin margin.
It was thought by boxing pundits that Pacquiao would dominate Marquez in their 3rd encounter because Marquez was now 38 years old and was still fighting at lightweight while Manny had successfully moved up to welterweight. Further Pacquiao was dominant at the higher weight while retaining his lightning speed.
As everyone now knows Marquez put on possibly the best performance of a brilliant career, while Pacquiao again was far from spectacular. Manny was given the decision but most boxing fans and writers thought that Marquez had won the contest.
Many boxing writers and fans are gleefully writing Pacquiao’s fistic obituary in advance. But it should be pointed out that most of those who speak of Manny’s early demise never liked him in the first place and are devoid of any objectivity related to “Pacman”.
Another year has now been ushered in. It remains to be seen who will be chosen as Pacquiao’s first opponent in 2012. The problem of his leg cramping needs to be addressed and brought under control quickly. It may be something as simple as overtraining. Bob Arum himself expressed his fear that Manny was overtraining when he asked Freddie Roach to slow him down back in October.
Boxing fans should be able to determine if Pacquiao is still the fighter who fought his way up through eight weight divisions, winning titles in all of them when he enters the ring next June or July to take on his next opponent.