By Glenn Wilson
Manny Pacquiao. (AP Photo / Jae C. Hong)
Every great monster in history had his own flaws. Frankenstein showed us that his was a sense of direction. Suppose he hadn’t gone into that windmill and eventually been burned to death. All he needed was a trainer or a manager to tell him, “look Frankie, I know the people are a little peeved at you right now, so my advice to you is to stay away from closed in structures. Run on out to the woods and hang out for awhile. When things cool down, I’ll come and get you.”
Who knows, if Frank had that one guy to guide him, I bet him and the wife would be barbequing with the rest of the town’s people on Saturday night. So what is the moral of the story, no matter how strong and terrifying you are, you can always use the advice of someone that cares about you and is a little wiser.
That is exactly what Manny Pacquiao did in 2001 when he began working with Freddie Roach.
Manny was already a proven commodity. The only problem was that he wasn’t a name here in the states. Another huge advantage that Pacquiao had in his favor was that he was a very humble man. He always remembered where he came from and knew that there were things he could improve on. Too many athletes have squandered careers because they were unwilling to learn. Thankfully, Manny did not pocess that character flaw.
Roach saw something in Manny, was it greatness? Probably not at that time. But he did see a fighter with a ton of potential who had built up an impressive resume.
Doctor Roach took Packenstein into his lab and began to tinker with the beast from the Philippines. What he found was a heart the size of five men, the strenght of a locomotive and lightning fast reflexes.
The first test that the good Doctor gave to Manny was simple. “Manny, I have a barn out back that I need to raze. Can you go out there and tear the barn down for me?”, Roach asked. “Sure”, said Packenstein.
The Doctor looked out of his window as the beast attacked the building. Packenstein punched holes through the walls until he reached the inner workings of the barn. Straight rights and lefts boomed against the columns until the building finely fell in a heap.
Packenstein returned to the lab a very proud man. Doctor Roach said, “Son, that was pretty good, but it took you twenty minutes to do it”. Packenstein was eager to learn, but wondered how in the world the barn could possibly have been torn down any faster.
Task number two was an abandoned barn out in the country. The Doctor told Packenstein to tear down the barn. Manny began to attack the walls when the Doctor told him to stop. Roach gave him the following advice, ‘ Son, when you want to really destroy something, take away what it has inside. If you fight another fighter, take away their heart. To destroy a building , take away it’s columns. The columns are the heart and soul of the building.”
Manny attacked the inside columns. Roach watched from an open window as Packenstein tore through each column until the barn fell. “15 minutes”, yelled Freddie. “Better, but you can still improve”.
The Doctor explained to Packenstein how much stronger and bigger the buildings were in the real world. His last two pieces of advice were for Manny to punch the columns from different angles and to throw more hooks to the columns body. Packenstein was soon tearing down buildings in under six minutes.
Packenstein still looks back to the day when the Doctor took him in. And as great as he has become, he is still a willing pupil. Eager to fine tune what some believe is already perfection. Roach searches for flaws in the building that Manny can attack.
When asked what the perfect demolition job will be, Packenstein and the Doctor both replied, “The Cotto building. It’s structure is one of the strongest in the world”.
Glenn grew up in local boxing gyms and still worked out and sparred as recently as 2004.
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