By Erwin Lastimosa
Whenever a fighter is exciting and dominant in the ring, the fans become spoiled and never satisfied with that fighter’s performance unless it ends in a knockout or a dominant beating.
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is victim of his own dominance, if anyone goes the distance with Pacquiao or escapes without having to go to the hospital that fight exposed him, or Pacquiao sucks in their eyes and is overrated. But they never take into consideration that maybe his opponents are fighting safe making it very difficult to exchange with them when they are forcing Pacquiao to chase them down while they try to win on points avoiding a hellacious beating if they do try to be the aggressor.
If the fighter is a safety first fighter like Floyd Mayweather Jr., and very boring to begin with, people don’t expect much out of him, but when that boring fighter actually gets a KO or is in an exciting fight they sing praises, like when Floyd Mayweather Jr. had an exciting fight with Miguel Cotto, but because that isn’t the norm for Floyd, the fans were impressed and remembered it more.
Pacquiao is stuck in a difficult predicament because of his previous fights where he put on dominant one sided beatings or delivered knockdowns and a spectacular knockout, people demand much more out of him compared to other fighters. It’s like an addict when they get a high, they are not content until they get another high, and when you deliver a Ricky Hatton type KO or a Antonio Margarito type beating, people want more just like an addict, that is why casual fans pay their hard earned money — they want Pacquiao fights to end in knockouts or beatdowns.
One of the judges, Duane Ford, who scored the Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley fight for Bradley, claims that the reason he scored the fight for Bradley was because “Pacquiao didn’t look like the Pacquiao of old” and the Pacquiao of old would have stopped Bradley. A lot of people who watched the Bradley vs. Pacquiao fight said Pacquiao seemed to carry Bradley letting him off the hook to survive. Pacquiao made a big mistake by easing off the gas and lost the fight on the scorecards even though the majority of the people had Pacquiao winning comfortably.
I agree with the judge and the fans who said that Pacquiao seemed to ease up on Tim Bradley, could this be because Pacquiao is a Born Again Christian and he has gotten softer? After Pacquiao destroyed Margarito’s eye, he told media that “boxing is not for killing”, of course it isn’t, but the sport of boxing is not patty cake either, it’s two sportsman going to war in the ring. It seems Pacquiao no longer has that killer instinct even though he is still capable he decides to let the fight go the full twelve rounds thinking that the fans will be satisfied and he won’t have to brutalize his opponent in the process. People will judge him by the action packed fights he spoiled us with, and if he does try to carry a fight again like he did versus Shane Mosley and Timothy Bradley it will make those fighters look good because they survived the wrath of Manny Pacquiao.
After losing to Bradley, I hope Pacquiao realizes that you cannot carry a fight and assume the judges will give you the decision, you are not safe because you never know how the judges could score the fight. Be the Pacman of old, the Pacman who never tried to leave it in the judges hands.
If you feel that “boxing is not for killing” and you can no longer brutalize your opponent anymore when you have him backed in a corner, maybe that means it’s time to retire from boxing.
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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.