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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Has Manny lost his KO touch?

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
16 Apr 2014



LAS VEGAS. And the wait continues for Manny Pacquiao’s next win by knockout. Last Saturday, Pacquiao notched his second straight victory on points since losing to Juan Manuel Marquez and there was concern that his power has diminished with age. Pacquiao is now 35 and has logged 62 fights in 19 years as a pro.

Pacquiao hasn’t scored an abbreviated triumph since halting Miguel Cotto in the 12th round in Las Vegas in 2009. His last five wins came via decisions, including the vengeful verdict over Timothy Bradley to recapture the WBO welterweight title. In those five wins, Pacquiao posted just one knockdown at Sugar Shane Mosley’s expense. In bowing to Marquez in December two years ago, Pacquiao scored a knockdown----his fifth against the Mexican in four duels. But Marquez bounced back to flatten Pacquiao in the sixth in a dramatic, unexpected reversal.

Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review Journal said “Pacquiao wasn’t able to truly hurt Bradley which may have Pacquiao’s critics confirming their thinking that he no longer has the ability to knock his opponents out.”
****

While Pacquiao threw more power punches than Bradley and had 39 more connections in this department, it didn’t seem like the defending champion was anywhere close to a fall. There were instances when Pacquiao struck Bradley cleanly but he was never in danger of going down. Freddie Roach said he would’ve liked Pacquiao to knock out Bradley. However, the situation called for a more prudent strategy. As it was evident that Bradley was looking to land a homerun, Roach advised Pacquiao to box and stay away from harm’s way. Pacquiao adjusted accordingly.

Despite the adjustment, Pacquiao didn’t want to disappoint the fans and still gave an exciting performance. When Bradley was pinned against the ropes, Pacquiao unleashed flurries, some at rapid-fire pace, reminiscent of Fernando Poe movies. Against Joshua Clottey in 2010, Pacquiao also employed a Fernando Poe trick----the double open-glove “pompyang” on the ears. Pacquiao didn’t want to force the issue in going for a knockout, wary of a Bradley counter. What he needed was a sure win. No sense in courting danger. It was enough to score a convincing victory on points.

Was failing to halt Bradley an indication that Pacquiao’s killer instinct is a thing of the past? Before the rematch, Bradley said he had lost respect for Pacquiao’s punching power. “When was the last time you saw Pacquiao knock somebody out?” he asked. “In our (first) fight, I had two wounded feet and he couldn’t take me out. What makes you think he can take me out with two good feet? Manny used to come in blazing and knock guys out. Now he’s more compassionate toward his opponents and that’s not good for boxing.”
****

How ironic that Bradley has accused Pacquiao of not giving the fans what they want and claiming he isn’t contributing to the popularity of the sport. It’s Bradley who has a reputation of a boring boxer, not Pacquiao. It’s Bradley who can’t draw big pay-per-view numbers because he’s not a crowd pleaser. It’s Bradley whose knockout rate is way below standards, scoring only 12 stoppages in 31 wins.

Pacquiao failed to knock Bradley out last Saturday but didn’t disappoint his legion of fans. He got the job done, that’s the bottom line. He wanted the WBO 147-pound title back and went out to do it. Pacquiao didn’t score a knockout because the gameplan didn’t call for it. He may have fought cautiously but surely fought intelligently.

Pacquiao said he has at least two good years of boxing left. Sooner or later, the knockout will come again when the timing is right and the stars are aligned for it to happen. If Pacquiao takes on Marquez in a fifth fight late this year, maybe, that will be when the Filipino icon scores his 39th knockout. Or maybe, Pacquiao is reserving the knockout for somebody else who deserves to kiss the canvas more than Marquez. You guess is as good as mine in identifying that special somebody.


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