By Erwin Lastimosa
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao was once a ferocious fighter in the ring, a fighter that would never stop punching until his opponent hit the canvas or was beat to a bloody pulp and the referee had to pull him off.
I still remember his career defining fight with Marco Antonio Barrera, Manny Pacquiao was the huge underdog and he fought like a rabid pit bull, he just didn’t stop punching and attacking Barrera, the fight was only stopped because Barrera’s brother stepped into the ring in tears telling the ref to stop it.
If you are a big fan of Manny Pacquiao like I am, you can see how much he has changed as a fighter ever since he got involved with politics. Politics involves image building, and that is what Manny is doing right now, he is building his image to win votes in the Philippines. Pacquiao has always been a religious person, doing the sign of the cross and praying before and after every fight, but recently he has become more focused on being a pacifist and trying to follow the Bible’s teachings especially concerning non-violence.
According to ABS-CBN news in the Philippines, Pacquiao said he might retire from boxing next year and his fight with undefeated American Timothy Bradley may be his last. Pacquiao’s reasoning had to do with being a more devout Christian and getting rid of all his vices such as a womanizing, cockfighting, gambling, and drinking, he also accepted the offer of being a Bible ambassador for the Catholic Church and he felt that fighting which is a violent sport may not look good for someone who is trying to be a good Christian. Manny also said his main focus right now is politics and reading the Bible to better himself as a human.
Manny doesn’t fight like the hungry lion anymore, in his last few fights he showed a lack of interest in the ring and slower reflexes than before. Gone was the killer instinct and the speed and ferocity that was trademark Pacman. The new Pacman is gentler with an almost soft compassion in the ring. HBO’s Jim Lampley said it best when he said Pacquiao was being more of a politician in the ring when he showed compassion towards Antonio Margarito and stepped off the gas begging the ref to stop the fight, the old Pacquiao would show no mercy and once he saw a wounded opponent he would have attacked him non-stop till he put him out of his misery.
Timothy Bradley is going to be the underdog because the betting public has no clue who he is, but for those of us who have been watching boxing and are familiar with him, he should be the betting favorite come June 9th because he is the undefeated and hungry lion, while Manny is slowing down, and no longer has a passion for boxing. Pacquiao hinting that he feels violence is bad for someone who is a Christian or a Bible ambassador says a lot, we could actually see the upset.
Timothy Bradley even knows it himself that Manny Pacquiao is ripe for the picking, he said the Pacman has slowed down and isn’t the same fighter he once was, and he is 100 percent correct. As a Manny Pacquiao fan, I can honestly say that I don’t see this fighting ending well for him, the Pacman could actually be stopped in this fight.
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Erwin Lastimosa is a long time boxing fan and enjoys boxing discussion with his peers. Some of his favorite fighters are Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Muhammad Ali, Flash Elorde, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao.