Manny Pacquiao got a deserved win at the MGM Grand on Saturday night, defeating Timothy Bradley by UD to gain revenge for the
Manny Pacquiao is a great fighter. That should not really be up for debate, unless you're trying to sell a fight in any which way you can.
The decline is natural of course; Manny is now 35, at an age where some athlete's are already retired. Gone are the days of the 1000 punches a fight Pacquiao, they simply will not come back.
It could be argued that Pacquiao's output has naturally decreased against technically gifted boxers such as Juan Marquez and Tim Bradley, but if the Filipino still retained the same levels of physical talent, then surely Brandon Rios represented an opportunity to unload at will, as the Oxnard brawler became increasingly inactive in a fight where he lost nearly every round.
Pacquiao is loved, but love cannot blind one to the obvious decline that is happening. The mooted 2 further years of fighting will be greeted with glee by most, happy to see a fighter still plying his trade a few more times before he retires to seek perhaps the loftiest office of government in the Philippines.
But for those close to Manny, perhaps a few quiet words should be had. Would he rather end his career triumphant, like this prior weekend, or deflated, face down on the canvas against Marquez? If he fights 4 more years, the likelihood of another looping right finding his jaw become evermore probable.
Freddie Roach's remarks after the fight have a familiar sounding tone. As reported on boxingscene.com. Roach said:
I cannot say he is back at his best, because I didn't see that. We trained very hard for this fight, that's the truth, but there are still things missing. We were practising some things in the gym that weren't implemented in the ring...to tell you the truth, I'm a little disappointed, because of the way he fought at times. I thought he could do another kind of fight, other things.
The public will perhaps learn their lesson and stop predicting Pacquiao to win by KO. Whether he still has 'the fire' inside his belly becomes an irrelevant, as the decreasing punch output, and increasing ability to be tagged by long right hands are merely the natural consequences of aging.
Pacquiao called out Floyd Mayweather after the fight, saying all he had to do was pick up the phone and the fight would be made.
If Floyd likes money just as much as he professes, then perhaps it's time to make that call. At this point, that megafight would be a foregone conclusion.