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List of Articles by Sid Bañez

Can Manny Still Pull The Trigger?

By Sid Bañez
24 Nov 2013

Freddie Roach sort of revived this colorful boxing expression in the lead up to the Pacquiao-dela Hoya fight in 2008. Soundly beaten, dela Hoya acknowledged to Freddie himself at the end of the abbreviated fight that the latter was right: Oscar could not pull the trigger anymore.

Almost a year after suffering a devastating knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez, even loyal Pacquiao fans are wondering if the eight division Filipino champion is still capable of pulling the trigger when he faces the brash, ambitious, and tough Brandon Rios.

When you’ve never held a gun, it’s easier to understand this expression. It simply means you’re scared to use the firearm because it might do you or someone else harm.

In boxing, a fighter who can’t pull the trigger is one who is unwilling to take chances, one who does not want to get hit to land a punch and therefore cannot get a good offense going.

Dela Hoya was never brutally knocked out in his career but he reached the point of publicly admitting he could no longer pull the trigger. Manny Pacquiao’s knockout was humiliating, if not brutal. Although he has repeatedly claimed the knockout was now behind him and that it was part of the territory and that it came when he was about to annihilate Marquez until the latter got the timely (not lucky) punch in, it remains to be seen if Manny’s “lights out” experience would not haunt him in anyway when Rios hits him or even when his shots land successfully on the younger, hungrier Rios.

A boxer is never the same again after a knockout loss. True, in two ways. First case in point: Roy Jones, former pound-for-pound king, descended nonstop into ignominy after being knocked out by underdog Antonio Tarver. On the other hand, Lennox Lewis was brutally knocked out in the fifth round by Hasim Rahman, a 15-1 underdog. Lewis got a quick rematch and knocked out Rahman in the fourth round. Lewis eventually defeated Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko and retired a heavy champion.

Being able to pull the trigger even after a devastating knockout is a mark of a resilient fighter in the mold of Lennox Lewis to cite just one example. Actually there is another worthy example among currently active fighters. Miguel Cotto was forced to submission by Antonio Margarito’s relentless pressure. Cotto proved his resilience, rebounding from that loss by defeating live dog Joshua Clottey. He even avenged his loss to Margarito by a TKO.

Cotto’s dramatic revenge against Margarito must have been a result of undeniable proof that he was cheated by in the first bout: Margarito was found guilty of using hardened hand wraps.

Pacquaio is climbing the ring today not without drama. He is said to be eager to exact revenge on Team Rios for their mockery of Freddie Roach who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. And there is Pacman’s burning desire to uplift the spirit of his countrymen, especially those ravaged by typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas.

Can he pull the trigger? You bet.

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