By Erwin Lastimosa
Every great fighter gets old. The ones who last longer than others are those who are conservative with their punches and are defensively minded like Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather, but for action packed fighters who throw caution to the wind like Manny Pacquiao age catches up to them faster.
Boxing is a brutal sport, its hit and not get hit, if you get hit you pay the price. For Manny Pacquiao he took many hits, and you can only too so many before you crumble. Wear and tear and aging is the reason for the Pacman’s decline. When he fought long time rival Juan Manuel Marquez in a fourth bout, we saw the end of the great Manny Pacquiao. It was a shock to see him get dropped because we were so used to him dropping Marquez, and the final knockout was the crushing blow that ended his long career.
I am a big Pacquiao fan, but I also think rationally when it comes to accepting the fate of every great fighter. If you built your career on wild aggression you must face the fact that you will pay for all the bumps and bruises you take. It happened to the great Erik Morales who was known for his iron chin, he was finished by Pacquiao twice after putting on one of the greatest performances in boxing history when he defeated a prime featherweight version of Pacquiao in an amazing back and forth showdown. Morales was out of shape and out of prime when he returned to boxing, he fought a young Danny Garcia and was knocked out in the rematch. As a fan, I hope this doesn’t happen to Manny, he could end up like many boxing greats who fight long past their prime years as stepping stones for younger boxers.
On April 12th, when Manny Pacquiao steps into the boxing ring to rematch Timothy Bradley, I don’t have high expectations for him. I say this because people keep questioning his hunger or his killer instinct, but Manny has always had that fire, his only problem now is he cannot pull the trigger anymore and it is wrong to force an aging 35 year old fighter to perform like he was 25 years old.
Manny is boxing more because he knows his body, he can no longer take the same risks, and the Marquez KO taught him this lesson the hard way. If you are hoping for him to knockout Bradley, you will be highly disappointed. Bradley is a tough nut to crack, he has a tremendous chin and heart. It pains me to say this but I favor Bradley to win the rematch convincingly. This is not the Pacman of 2009, even Bradley knows he is fighting a past prime legend on the downside of his career and that is why he is supremely confident he will win.
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.