The clock ticked, as time is passing by. It dared not to wait anyone, as every ticking sound reminded us that our hour glass is slowly filling up. Unlike basketball, boxing isn’t that forgiving to thirty-something athletes. A certain Bernard Hopkins is the exception to the rule, wherein he continues to defy science and logic by fighting at age 48. However, we can’t say the same to Manny Pacquiao.
We already sense his decline when he fought Juan Manuel Marquez way back in 2011 when he barely escaped a win. He failed to dispose Timothy Bradley seven months later, and suffered his biggest setback when he got knocked out by Marquez on their fourth match last December. The no. one pound per pound king and the alpha male in boxing is slowly losing his gripped and now pummeled a few steps back.
Brandon Rios would be Manny’s ticket back to his former status. But still, this would be an uphill climb for the 34 year old Pacquiao. Manny’s boxing mileage has grown exponentially throughout the years, when he started trading mitts when he was still 16 years old (first professional fight). A punch that doesn’t hurt him two to three years ago can be devastating now. Reflexes are a bit slow and defense slows down. Freddie Roach warned Manny that if he sees one flaw on their training he wouldn’t have second thoughts to call it quits.
Brandon is a slugger, he would punch the hell out of you or he will die trying. He is craving for success and his most notable victories were a 7th round TKO against Mike Alvarado (Mike won on their rematch), John Murray (11th round TKO) and Urbano Antillon (3rd round TKO). His November 23 date with Pacquiao would be his ultimate victory. Brandon is a hungry lion and sees this opportunity as his own ticket to success and recognition.
What would Manny do
Manny is always prepared. He and Freddie always have the perfect game plan. However, there is one aspect that Manny abandoned years ago, way back on his fight with Shane Mosley. That is his strength and conditioning. I had a lot of debates and conversations about Manny’s knockout loss to Marquez. I do believe that if he had undergone the strength and conditioning training by Alex Ariza, he could have survive that round and knock Marquez out in the following rounds. Juanma went through that rigorous conditioning and got the best out of Pacquiao. With Ariza fired as conditioning coach by Freddie with Manny’s consent. It seems like Manny is in for the fight of his life. This is not just a fight to get back to the upper echelon in boxing but a fight to survive and save what is left on his career. With Ariza out, Manny could still find a good replacement but it has to be a conscious decision to embrace with open arms his strength and conditioning training.
Manny still got it takes to win against Rios. But this time he would double up his training. Get a good strength and conditioning coach and find that spark that motivates him to win. It’s not too late to pull the plug if all doesn’t work.
The clock will continue to tick and Manny’s time is slowly running out. A win could put him back to his former spot. And a loss can put an end to his famed career. Life goes on after boxing. Sometimes we got to choose our battles. I just wish Manny could walkout from boxing, while he still can… literally.