A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Manny Pacquiao’s Back!
Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) avenged his June 2012 defeat to Timothy Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs) with a dramatic 12-round unanimous decision victory last Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Pacquiao regains the WBO welterweight title and appears to be headed toward an evitable showdown against the winner of Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado on May 17.
A potential fifth fight between Pacquiao-Marquez would fully complete ‘The Pac-Man’ comeback following a disappointing 2012. Pacquiao dropped a disputed decision to Bradley in a fight that everyone felt ‘Pac-Man’ deserved the decision. In November 2012, Pacquiao was knocked out by Marquez during their fourth and perhaps most epic contest. The two losses dismissed all talk about a ‘Money’ Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao mega-fight. Pacquiao has a lot of problems citing monies owed to the IRS, and going through the physiological aspect of having to recover from a knockout defeat was taxing and overwhelming.
Pacquiao returned in November 2013 and looked very good against Brandon Rios. Pacquiao was untouched during an impressive 12-round unanimous decision win. However, Rios was the smaller man moving up from 135-140 and challenged Pacquiao to a fight at 147. Pacquiao didn’t answer the questions as to whether he was truly back and in top form. Top Rank wasn’t going to put Pacquiao in the ring against someone that would hand him a third consecutive defeat. Rios wasn’t experienced, or flashy enough to truly test Pacquiao.
However, Bradley was.
“The only way Bradley can beat me this time is to knock me out,” Pacquiao said prior to to the rematch with Bradley. “He cannot outbox me. I will be the aggressor. I will throw a lot of punches at him – more than I threw against Rios — and I will land them. Last time I was too nice. This time, I will finish what I start.”
Bradley, the former unified WBC/WBO junior welterweight and undefeated WBO welterweight champion, had supreme confidence. He promised to stop Pacquiao, whom many thought was a shell of his former self. But Pacquiao proved many of his doubters wrong by simply meeting Bradley in the middle of the ring and pummeling him backwards into the ropes with four-five-six-seven-eight punch combinations. Bradley, after the first four rounds, was noticeably breathing heavily. Pacquiao was overwhelming Bradley with speed, precision-punching, and sheer aggressiveness. Bradley had his moments. There were times when his right hand landed flush, but he didn’t have the power to threaten Pacquiao. Bradley had the conditioning and determination to keep the fight entertaining. He dodged and slipped a lot punches, but Pacquiao proved to be the better fighter.
According to punch statistics, Bradley threw more punches (627) than Pacquiao (563), but the Pacquiao landed more (198-141) and connected at a higher percentage (35%-22%). Pacquiao landed more power-punches than Bradley (148-109) and at a higher percentage (43%-32%).
Pacquiao hasn’t recorded a knockout victory since he defeated Miguel Cotto in 2009. May be the Pacquiao-Machine maybe slowing down a bit at age 35, but he is still one of the best fighters in the world. Pacquiao will remain one of the most watched and entertaining fighters in boxing and the allure of a Mayweather-Pacquiao is slowly resurfacing. Although it is clear now that Mayweather, in a fight that was highly debated for years, would easily have his way with Pacquiao.
Should Pacquiao fight Marquez for a fifth time, Pacquiao will be looking at age 36 and Marquez will be around 41. Should Pacquiao (for a fourth time) defeat Marquez, maybe then Mayweather will decide to fight Pacquiao and that would be shame because, the boxing public has been clamoring for that fight for years.