The Chinese word for crisis comes in two characters… one meaning danger and the other one opportunity.
At 38 years old and with a lot of mileage used on his meter, Manny Pacquiao still pushes for one or two fights more. He still seeks that happy conclusion to his fairy tale story.
This Sunday he will be trading mitts against the undefeated Australian Jeff Horn. A relatively unknown commodity outside boxing pundits and fanatics. However, Jeff is not a cakewalk either. The 29-year-old schoolteacher who haven’t fought outside Australia has a 69 percent KO rate, knocking down 11 opponents out of his 16 career fights. But he haven’t really fought a caliber fighter like Pacquiao. His last fight was against a 39-year-old Ali Funeka who had a 0-3 record in fighting for a world title. Moreover, Manny is not taking Jeff lightly. He knows the feeling of being an underdog and fighting at home.
Back 16 years ago, nobody really gave the then unknown Manny a chance when he fought Lehlo Ledwaba for the IBF super bantamweight title. He was just a replacement fighter for Enrique Sanchez with only two weeks’ notice. But Manny put on a show, dropping the former champion three times, before a straight left hand that sent Ledwaba in the canvas for good. So anything can still happen on the Horn fight.
Leading to the fight week, Manny Pacquiao’s coach, Freddie Roach said that Manny has knockout two of his sparring partners already, something that Manny had never done for six years. Pacquiao is clearly on a mission. He wanted to be impressive against Horn so he can finally land a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and save boxing into extinction. New age fighters have patterned their careers on Floyd, trying to save their record rather than fight the best in their division. Promoters pay their fighters not to fight or vice versa. This is the Mayweather effect and it is slowly killing the sport. And Manny has the chance to put an end to that.
Jeff Horn will do his very best to derail Manny’s plan or even make Pacquiao retire. This is his only chance to stardom. While Manny Pacquiao, needs to win this fight badly to get a chance against Mayweather and retire as the best fighter ever.
Horn and Pacquiao are both on a crisis… a clear and present danger with bigger opportunities looming in the future.