On the Radar:📡 Manny Pacquiao

(History was made in many different facets)

BOXER:🇵🇭Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao🇵🇭

FEATS ACCOMPLISHED: 4 boxing records broken in a single fight…becoming the oldest Welterweight Titlist of all time (40), becoming the first man to become a 4X Welterweight Champion, now having the longest time period between winning his first World Title, and winning his latest one (1998-2019, 21 year gap between the two)…also now having the most wins over boxers who won an official World Title in their careers (27 victories over 22 Champions).

THE PATH TO THE GOAL:📈Ageless wonder is a term used to describe someone who transcends time, yet there are only a few of those examples in all facets of life where this saying actually holds merit. In boxing’s past, we have had great fighters push the envelope as they advanced later into their later years after piling up a lot of mileage on the body that should have been a factor in them slowing down, yet wasn’t…fighters such as Archie Moore, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Robinson, Bernard Hopkins and a few other notable great boxers. 🇵🇭Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KO👊) is the latest one to add to the list after his incredible performance in out-dueling a very good primed Welterweight Champion in Keith Thurman this past weekend (July 20th, 2019).

What ultimately made this victory special wasn’t just him accomplishing all of these achievements at the age of 40, but it’s the factors surrounding it when you delve a little deeper into the details. Manny for a large chunk of a decade-and-a-half has lived on top of boxing’s landscape which was a feat in and of itself. It is also unheard of for a Strawweight boxer to come up as someone who sledgehammered his way through some of the toughest boxers that were out there from 140 on up. We also have to consider that he decided to retire back in 2016, only to come back shortly after with his eyes set on the young guns who were entering the hierarchy picture of the coveted Welterweight division.

By this time he was no longer the fighter he was in his prime, however was still a top-notch fighter with a unique skill-set and uncanny genetics that allowed him to endure wars, not succumbing to wear-and-tear damage naturally accustomed to aging boxers. By the time he got to the Jeff Horn fight, he looked like a compromised fighter, constantly falling off balance, stamina issues, punches coming out slow and falling a little short, defense constantly out of position…it looked like Pacquiao was at the end of his rope despite me feeling that Manny did enough to win the fight on a personal note. Most people were concerned about Pacquiao’s ambitions to continue, feeling that he was a shot fighter, and I was flirting with the idea of taking that stance as well, but I don’t believe on casting hard judgement after just one fight, but there were certain things I had to see to support my stance whether I felt he was shot, or if he could bounce back to a level respectable of his norm. Some people took it a step further in not giving him any real relevant chance against any notable Welterweights, but I decided to sit back and see how Manny would make adjustments under the guidance of Trainer Buboy Fernandez after Pacquiao and Freddie Roach had their brief falling out.

📹Watching his training camp for his next fight against Lucas Matthysse, I was pleasantly shocked to see that Manny looked to be a completely rejuvenated fighter, getting back to the basics of what made him the fighter he used to be, getting back in excellent cardio shape, somehow increasing his speed, and getting the mindset back that he used to have prior to his fight with Sugar Shane Mosley, to the time period where Manny was relentlessly trucking through dangerous fighters left and right, Champion after Champion after Champion, thus racking up those wins and potentially putting himself in position for record of most wins among that contingent that he just achieved. Buboy had Manny in peak condition and ready to go, and he looked every bit of it as he was very spry against Matthysse, regaining his balance and footwork, and landed combinations at will they we hadn’t seen in years. It was the best that Pacquiao had looked since his 2nd fight with Timothy Bradley in their trilogy. People spent too much time looking at the opponent instead of Manny himself, citing that Matthysse was a shot fighter, yet not realizing that even if he was in his prime, the type of skills that Manny produced in the ring, he nor most Welterweights would not be able to contend with that type of footwork, speed and angular attack he showcased in the bout.

After the fight, Manny and Freddie Roach patched things up, so Roach and Buboy worked as a co-trainer team for Manny in his next fight against Adrien Broner. Manny even looked sharper this time around, more than doubling his opponents punch output and dominating the loudmouth to a wide decision. It was written off by certain people the same way they did in the fight prior, this time with them referring to Broner’s stagnated footwork in the pocket, yet not bringing attention to Manny’s footwork, where he could have still out-dueled his man even if he was capable of using lateral foot movement due to his ability to alter his footwork to mirror what his opponent wants to do.

Manny 4 months before his 🗓️41st birthday got his shot at a Welterweight World Title against respected Keith Thurman. While some believed that Manny’s skills and reflexes superseded whatever his age stated, there were still a percentage of people who refused to pick Pacquiao in this match-up because of the numerical age factor with people paying more attention to that than his abilities at this point, and because some didn’t think highly of his last 2 opponents, once again not taking into account the skills he utilized in those 2 outings on a personal basis. Pacquiao’s speed, counter-punching and combinations overwhelmed Keith in portions of the fight, in large particularly in the first half of the fight, putting on an even better performance than the previous 2 fights discussed earlier, and in doing so, added another very good young fighter to a laundry list of a Hall-of-Fame resume.

Manny had also added 4 more boxing records to a ridiculously long list of achievements, and has up to this point defeated father-time, which at his age ultimately becomes the toughest foe to face, yet he continues to thrive in the sport of boxing, and continuously makes a strong case as to why he is on the short list of being one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport, and certainly as one of the 2 vanguards of this young millennia. A salute to the Filipino Senator who is still juggling his duties to try and make changes as he sees fit at home, and by inspiring the boxing world with his continued level of in-ring performances, the journey lives on.

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