By Ludwig O. Daza
For now, the Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn bout is in limbo. Obviously, Bob Arum and Michael Koncz are at odds on who should be the next opponent for Manny Pacquiao and where it should happen.
When Arum then announced the trilogy with Tim Bradley, the fight fans were not excited. They have little reason to believe that the third fight would play out differently from the previous fights. Styles make fights, and Pacquiao style and that of Bradley do not add up to a compelling fight. So when Arum announced weeks after the trilogy that the pay per view result was not encouraging, he was telling something the fight fans already knew even before the fight started.
And now this supposed fight with Horn, an unknown and lacking skills that can make for a compelling fight that fans would get excited about. If this fight happens, we can lump this kind of fight with that of Chis Algieri, Jessie Vargas and Jorge Solis. Except for their almost unblemished records, they offered nothing to match Pacquiao’s stature and skills. These fights were made because of Bob Arum, to whom Pacquiao has always deferred whenever he says that his job is to fight whoever his promoter chooses.
But times have changed now that he is at the twilight of his career, and which Michael Koncz is not unaware of. His job now is to ensure that the next fight for his employer should not only be financially rewarding but also meaningful, and that will be carried out even if it earns the ire of Bob Arum – who cares anyway, his job is to advise the Pacman and not kowtow to the Great Promoter.
Indeed, times have changed. Now a Senator of the Republic of the Philippines, Pacquiao has emerged from the shadow of Arum and can no longer be expected to do his bidding. He has done so much for Arum and the latter for him. This is the right time for Pacquiao to disengage from Arum and chart his own course, and he has earned the right to ask Arum to be freed from whatever contract that binds them. When Arum mentioned an unknown as a possible opponent, surely he is not concerned with the legacy of his ward.
Pacquiao is a living legend who is still at the top of his game, and pitting him against an unproven fighter is a waste of his time that is fast slipping from his pugilistic hands like sands. While his body can still endure elite training regimen, It won’t do justice to him to train rigorously only to fight somebody not named Terrence Crawford or Conor McGregor.
If Manny can negotiate his way out of Arum’s contract, a fight with UFC superstar Conor McGregor in a boxing match would be dandy. It will be like Pacquiao vs. Morales trilogy all over again. The brash McGregor fighting the Pacman will take us to the edge of our seats without knowing it. I can’t wait for this fight to happen. If the price is right for McGregor, he’ll take the fight in no time.
A fight with Crawford will not be as compelling as he is a clone of Floyd Mayweather, and we know what happened with his fight against Pacquiao – it was a chess match. But knowing that both have power in their hands, and Crawford will be moving up the weight scale against the Pacman, this is sure to generate a lot of interests. Financial-wise, this could be a success.
Pacquiao can handle McGregor with ease. Nate Diaz buzzed McGregor, and the former’s boxing skills pale in comparison with Pacquiao. I still believe that the stamina of Pacquiao and his relentless offensive skills will be too much for McGregor.
Crawford will be elusive and I am sure he is not one to engage Pacquiao in the early rounds. There is danger though if Pacquiao ages overnight during the fight against Crawford where he is regularly beaten to draw when they engage and let their hands go – when youth trumps experience, just like the Nonito Donaire vs. Jessie Magdaleno
Even now, Pacquiao still fights mainly to entertain. When the bell rings, the warrior in him takes over. Monetary considerations involved in the fight are pushed aside and overtaken by his single-mindedness and desire to put on a good fight and make the fans happy. And when he gets hurt, that’s when the fights gets interesting because this is the part where he throws caution to the wind and goes for the jugular. And when the opposition presents no real danger, Manny has a tendency to step off the accelerator and just take things in stride though still oblige to make the fans happy.
Fight fans deserve one last scintillating performance from Pacquiao, and Horn’s skill-set has a lot to be desired to even make a good fight, much less a compelling one. Horn’s chance of hurting Pacquiao is slim to nil. In sum this is an inconsequential fight. Locking horns with the unknown Aussie is a bad proposition for Pacquiao, and Koncz is now hard pressed to find a better deal for his boss and for the boxing world as well.