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Don’t believe the hype: Pacquiao ain’t just a brawler
DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE: PACQUIAO AIN’T JUST A BRAWLER
January 17th, 2010 | by Oliver Suarez
In an article written by the Pacman himself at Philboxing.com, after his bout with Cotto, he articulated that psychological warfare and intelligence are as important as strength in the sport of boxing. Pacquiao mentioned how he played mind games with Cotto by not pretending to be hurt by the latter’s punches and in the end, it played a vital role in the fight.
In one of my articles titled “PACQUIAO: A DIFFERENT KIND OF FIGHTER, AN ALL-TIME GREAT,” I alluded to the fact that Pacquiao’s high ring IQ is often overlooked. He is an experienced fighter who has fought the best and learned from each one of them. Unlike a number of boxers who become complacent after attaining success, Manny Pacquiao remains a dedicated student of the Sweet Science. Why do you think he’s improved so much during the middle and latter stages of his career?
There was a time in the fight where Pacquiao took a page out of Muhammad Ali’s book by playing rope a dope. Pacquiao allowed Cotto to keep him on the ropes with the expectation that he will eventually lure the latter into a slugfest. A few seconds later the two traded punches and Cotto was knocked down by a left uppercut.
In the first two rounds it was a very competitive fight as Cotto was able to control Pacquiao with his jabs and counter punching. But Cotto seemed to divert away from the game plan and as a result Pacquiao defeated him. But why did he divert from his game plan? It’s because Pacquiao adjusted and started timing Cotto with right hooks over the top. Too often Pacquiao’s victories are attributed to his opponent’s mistakes instead of giving him the credit.
Most opponents of Pacquiao often points out his ability to throw punches from odd angles as his most dangerous weapon, but what makes it more effective is his vision and knowledge combined with his innate instinct of knowing when throw his punches at exactly the right spot. Just like in football, a running back with great vision and instinct will most likely be successful even without great physical gifts. Imagine Emmit Smith with speed; that is Pacquiao in boxing.
Still a number fans and analysts try to find minute reasons to downgrade Pacquiao’s accomplishments. But Pacquiao is the closest thing we got to our ideal boxer. He goes for the biggest of challenges. He doesn’t cheat the fans with his excellent work ethic and constant hunger to provide us fans the best entertainment possible.
It’s time to face it that Pacquiao is indeed one of the all time greats. Many of us find it hard to accept the fact that an athlete from today is in the same level from our sports heroes from the past. Manny Pacquiao has never compared himself from the boxing greats of the past, but the fact is he belongs in the same class. He may not be the all around boxer that Sugar Ray Robinson was, but great fighters come in different packages (i.e. Duran, Hagler, Leonard).
Many years from now, a young phenom with similar style will take the boxing world by storm, and he will face the same criticisms. A number of us will downgrade the young boxer’s accomplishments in order to protect Pacquiao’s legacy. It’s time to appreciate Pacquiao’s greatness and his contribution to the recent renaissance of boxing.
(send your questions to Oliver for his weekly mailbag via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @sportzhype)
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