By Robert Morales
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum promotes both Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao, so far be it from him to rip one of his own fighters. But he's not buying this business from Bradley and some experts who believe Pacquiao, 35, has become too mellow in the ring.
"As we age, we're not the same as we were when we were a little younger, so that's clearly the case for everybody," Arum said. "Manny Pacquiao, I think, showed in the Rios fight that he knew how to go back to his roots. People looked at Pacquiao as being a knockout puncher because they remember the fight with Ricky Hatton, where he laid Hatton out (in the second round in May 2009).
"But the truth is that Manny Pacquiao's strength was never as a knockout puncher. He was the kind of guy, and is the kind of guy, that is very elusive and comes from all angles, that has the southpaw style that scores punches. And he's so quick and when you counter him, he disappears. I mean, look at the Oscar (De La Hoya) fight. He never had Oscar in serious trouble of getting knocked out, but he just beat the crap out of him (stopping him after eight rounds in December 2008).
"And the same thing with Rios. He fought the same kind of fight with Rios as he did with De La Hoya. So people who say, 'Hey, he's a great knockout puncher because he did knock out (Hatton),' just are missing the boat. We don't have a guy who is a one-punch knockout guy, that Hatton fight notwithstanding."
Pacquiao is 55-5-2 with 38 knockouts. He hasn't had a knockout in his past seven fights, and the last time he stopped someone inside the distance it was Miguel Cotto in the 12th round in November 2009.
Robert Morales cover boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com.