The large TV screens in the Thomas and Mack center showed all the legends from Muhammad Ali all the way to Sugar Ray Leonard. The electrified crowd centered their eyes towards the center as the old school “Rocky” theme started to play.
The Legendary Manny Pacquiao walked right in like it was on the movie – The old man going for his last fight against a young champion. Along the ringside, Floyd Mayweather Jr. sits and observed his arch nemesis. Manny acknowledges Floyd, as he smiled and waved his glove before the bell rings. The perfect ending story could have been Manny struggling in points against Jessie Vargas and made an amazing comeback then retires for good. However, it wasn’t the script Manny wants. Pacquiao have beaten Vargas almost all rounds defusing anything Jessie has to offer with his power, speed and smarts. The 37-year-old fighter schooled the young champion and gave us a glimpse of how much Pacquiao’s tank left. The upbeat Vargas came in prepared but Manny gave a stern warning in the second round when he floored Jessie on a right counterpunch – the old man is coming for a knockout.
When the final bell rang, it was crystal clear of a Pacquiao victory. The non-stop cheers from the crowd says it all… “Manny, Manny, Manny…” as Pacquiao went into a neutral corner bowed down and prayed.
Manny Pacquiao is back and when he was asked who wants to fight next, he was diplomatic in saying “I don’t know, whoever the people want me to fight”.
Right along the ringside Floyd just commented to a reporter behind him “Not bad”. We all know Manny had an unfinished business with Floyd. The first fight when everyone thought it was a masterful performance by Floyd but the stats say it otherwise. Floyd threw a total of 471 punches and landed 68 of them while Manny threw in 414 punches but landed 30 more than Mayweather at 98. If numbers don’t lie a 14 percent stat rate of Floyd is ten percent lower than Manny’s 24 percent stat rate.
And he fought Floyd with literally in one arm. The Timothy Bradley fight was a premature decision to retire. He still has this itch that he wants to scratch. Manny is looking for a great ending to his Cinderella story, it needs to end with the right shoe that fits.
From the large screens of Thomas and Mack center we saw all the legends in boxing, and nobody came close to winning eight different weight titles. Manny on that night took care of business against the hungry young champion. While Pacquiao smiled and waved towards Floyd, it was a subtle way of saying “You’re next”.
Manny Pacquiao deserves that ending whatever the result is.