The great Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao defied boxing logic when he defeat Keith “One Time” Thurman to capture the WBA Welterweight Championship at the age of 40.
In boxing years, 40 is well past a fighters sell by date. Years ago fighters were already long in the tooth by the age of 30, but with modern strength training, and health and nutritional science, they are able to compete at an advanced age.
Wear and tear is also a big factor in a fighters decline. Pacquiao is an anomaly because he has been in countless toe to toe wars since he was a teenager but for some reason all those brutal fights have never taken a toll on him to the point of deterioration.
When Pacquiao fought Jeff Horn, I felt he lost the fight. Pacquiao looked like he took the Australian school teacher lightly and didn’t train properly or it could be his age was catching up to him. The ref didn’t help either because he allowed Horn to fight very dirty making it difficult for a clean fighter like Manny to get his offensive arsenal going.
He had a late rally in the ninth round where he battered Horn badly and almost had him out of there. Age showed up after that round because in the following rounds Pacquiao who normally recovers quickly was too tired. He spend the rest of the fight trying to catch his breath with little moments of punches being thrown.
Age catches up to us all and even though Pacquiao beat Keith Thurman there were moments in the fight that he barely threw any punches and was trying to recover his gas tank.
In those breaks when Pacquiao was trying to catch his breath and energy, Thurman was having his best moments. He was battering the Filipino southpaw to the body and Pacquiao was just taking the punches. Pacquiao didn’t have an easy night against Thurman, in fact, he was hit with the most power shots of his career for one fight.
Pacquiao cannot take this kind of punishment as his age. I fear in his next fight someone who has a more vicious instinct to finish like Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr. or even Shawn Porter would seize the moment to try and finish a tired 40-year-old Pacquiao.
This is why I agree with trainer Freddie Roach when he said every fight Pacquiao has at this point in his career is tough. Roach knows that 40 is old for a fighter especially an undersized warrior who relied on his speed and reflexes to defeat much bigger men.
The hall of fame trainer has told his top pupil that you cannot be a part-time fighter especially against elite welterweights who are much younger and stronger.
Pacquiao’s reflexes are no longer the same. The only reason he is able to compete is because he has the heart of a lion and still has more speed than most guys have his age.
Every time I watch him fight I keep saying to myself if this were the Manny of ten or twelve years ago these guys would be finished. The older Pacquiao still has enough to beat these guys or compete but time waits for no man, and father time will show up eventually.
I will always root for Manny Pacquiao, but I worry about his health. I would hate to see a man who does so much for the people in his country retire without his faculties.