Is Manny Pacquiao on the decline?
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Is Manny Pacquiao on the decline?

Cagayan de Oro : Philippines | Jun 10, 2012 at 9:27 PM PDT
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Floyd Mayweather says

The controversial split decision win of Timothy Bradley over Manny Pacquiao has created such a storm that it poses to be another blackeye for the credibility of boxing as a sport. Or does it?

Compubox number had Pacquiao out pointing Bradley, 253 to 159. But as what one of the judges, Duane Ford told Yahoo Sports: "what happens in one round does not carry over to the next. They're separate units." Exactly. Remember that boxing is judged per round and scored per round. When the scores per round are added, they become the final judges' scorecards. If the bout were basketball, Pacquiao was a sure winner 253-159. But this was not. And Manny should know better.

Bradley, as advertised, had pillows for punches. And this was the reason why Manny Pacquiao said at the post fight interview that he was NEVER hurt. Correct! How could Bradley inflict damage on the great Pacman, when not even Miguel Cotto nor Antonio Margarito could not floor him. On the other hand, Bradley had scary moments in the bout where he lost his balance because of the volume and power of Manny Pacquiao's punches. He admitted that he was hurt a couple of times. True. His body language from round 4 to 6 seemed like he had already given up. As was his corner.

But lo and behold, Manny Pacquiao, who once was one of the best finishers ever in the sport, could not get the job done. Gone were the 6 punch combos that pumelled the beautiful face of Oscar de la Hoya. Neither was the one punch power that retired Ricky Hatton. Nor was the ferocious lion who bloodied and punished Miguel Cotto into submission. No matter how good they say Pacman was last night, this was not the Manny Pacquiao that awed and captured the world's imagination some 4 years ago. Somehow, this was the Manny Pacquiao who struggled past JMM, coasted but could not catch an old Shane Mosley, battered but was merciful in letting Margarito finish and angry when Joshua Clottey refused to trade punches. This was the same pacman, but without the "killer's instinct".

Perhaps the dream is over. And that our hero is no longer young, has a lot of other things in mind, and has no more mountain to climb in boxing. If we, who work 8 to5 jobs get bored after a couple of years with our robotic routines, how much more when a boxer has already beaten them all, done this and done that? For sure, Manny knows.

Floyd Mayweather Jr looked very beatable against Miguel Cotto. Sure, he said he wanted to give a good action fight. But let's face it. Money is aging fast, and time betrays even the greatest of them all. On the opposite side, even if Manny Pacquiao won last night by UD over Timothy Bradley, that kind of performance would not win a signle round against even the "beatable" Floyd Mayweather. I do not think it was a sub par performance from the great Pacman. It is the new Pacquiao. I just don't know if it's with age, wear and tear or is it just the result of his new "happy" outlook in life. New?

It was the first time I saw him without the catholic rosary that Buboy Fernandez used to get off his neck and hold in his hand during fight introductions. It was the first time since the David Diaz bout that Alex Ariza wasn't part of the camp. It was the first time that Jinkee was with him the whole camp and even jogged along during training. It was the first time his kids watched the bout at the venue. These, among others were firsts. And the loss was a first after 16 fights.

Unlucky 16 as it was called. After his first career loss to Rustico Torrecampo, Manny Pacquiao has lost 3 more times and after evey 16 fights- the last one was last night. Superstition? Yeah. But was Manny superstitious during the first negotiations with Mayweather, when he refused a blood test the day before the fight because he believed it would weaken him? Really.

More than superstition, it seemed like the lack of desire lost it for Manny Pacquiao. I hate to say this, but Manny Pacquiao's heart is no longer in boxing. He doesn't have to say it, because yesterday he let us know what was important to him: watch game 7 of the Heat vs Celtics. Yes, he did not get taped up yet because he was watching the game. Sure, the Arce bout was abbreviated. But isn't it his responsibility to be ready in case incidents like that or KOs happen? Sure, he was entitled to wait all he wanted according to the NSAC. But did he have to let the rest of the world wait? Even Freddie Roach looked surprised. This was not the Manny Pacquiao we loved.

Manny knows deep in his heart that it's no longer about "Fighting for the Country" or "Bring Honor to the Country". It's all about business right now. Having conquered 8 divisions, he has nothing more to prove. He is the one and only 8 division title holder in history. I know that he still believes that the Floyd Mayweather Jr bout will happen, and is why he isn't hanging up his gloves yet. But with the loss yesterday, and with the idea that Mayweather has finally found his ultimate alibi in not making the fight, if and when Manny Pacquiao fights again, there will be no more great fights to make. Because he's fought them and won them all. What lies ahead are high risk and low reward fights against younger fighters like Timothy Bradley. And Manny Pacquiao does not back down from any challenge. Because he is the Great Pacman. Though his physical attributes have clearly diminished with time, his abilities are still what they were. But without the hunger and the fire which these young turks have, Manny may be in for harder nights to come if he continues to fight. Because once that fire is gone, everything will turn cold.

Lastly, Manny Pacquiao doesn't need Floyd Mayweather Jr. to cement his legacy in boxing. Nor does he need controversial losses to Bradleys that would diminish his status as one of the greatest ever. Manny Pacquiao isn't getting any younger.In the end, it will all go down to that Nike T-Shirt: MANNY KNOWS or FREDDIE KNOWS. He should know when the right time is. Let's not make Nike create a new one, say like: WHO KNOWS? Because no one can fight father time. Hope he doesn't wait for this question,because he may find his Berbick and Holmes for Ali or his Terry Norris and Macho Camacho for Sugar Ray Leonard. That would be a sad ending to this fairy tale.

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Boxer Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines faces off with Timothy Bradley Jr. of the U.S. during a news conference in New York
Boxer Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines faces off with Timothy Bradley Jr. of the U.S. during a news conference in New York
SHANE GARRY ACEDERA is based in Diliman, Central Luzon, Philippines, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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