Manny Pacquiao: A changed man but still hungry

A+
A
A-

ALL SET. Manny Pacquiao puts on sunglasses during a press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Pacquiao will fight Timothy Bradley for the WBO World Welterweight title Saturday. AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher

LAS VEGAS—Manny Pacquiao barely escaped to fight another day, and would need 28 stitches to close the cut over his right eye. Juan Manuel Marquez had nearly ended his remarkable run, but that didn’t stop Pacquiao from singing at his postfight concert and partying the night away with his huge entourage.

He returns to the ring on Saturday, determined to show his last outing was nothing more than a fluke. Little-known Timothy Bradley will be his opponent in a fight that could either end Pacquiao’s lucrative career or revitalize it.

No partying

This time, though, there will be no concert, and no party. Win or lose, the only thing on Pacquiao’s postfight agenda is a Bible study session and some time with his wife.

He claims to be a changed man, and the people around him say he really is. What no one really knows, though, is how it will affect him in the ring, something that makes this fight a bit more intriguing than most.

“It’s 100-percent good,” insists Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach. “He’s much more focused now. From all the distractions he had, the trade-off is unbelievable.”

Oddsmakers aren’t so sure, making Pacquiao a relatively short 4-1 favorite against the unbeaten Bradley. He was a 7-1 pick against Marquez, but was lucky to come away with a majority decision in a fight that could have gone either way.

Pacquiao said afterward that he just had problems with the style of Marquez. Those close to him, though, said personal problems and marital discord troubled him through training camp all the way into the dressing room before the fight, when he was still so consumed by them that he failed to warm up properly.

There will be no excuses this time. Pacquiao knows he not only needs to win but to win impressively if he is to retain his spot alongside currently jailed Floyd Mayweather Jr. as one of the two best fighters in the world.

“I want to prove that I’m still young and I can still fight,” Pacquiao said. “I feel I’m still hungry, I’m still OK.”

Unbeaten in 7 years

Pacquiao risks a 15-fight winning streak when he defends his piece of the welterweight title against Bradley. He hasn’t lost in seven years and his recent fights have all been big pay-per-view events that made him millions. But the pressures of being at the top of his sport and of being both a national hero and a congressman in the Philippines fueled a bloated lifestyle that couldn’t be sustained.

Timothy Bradley, right, stares down Manny Pacquiao, who smiles for the media after weighing in for their WBO world welterweight title fight, Friday, June 8, 2012, in Las Vegas. AP/Julie Jacobson

Pacquiao gave up drinking, and he gave up gambling. He gave away his cockfighting ranch in the Philippines and sold his interest in a casino there.

He found a spiritual adviser, and now spends his spare moments reading and discussing the Bible.

“The things I did over and over in the past, I stopped those,” Pacquiao said. “I know now if I die today I know where I’m going. It’s helped a lot in my personal life and my boxing life.”

More focused

Training in Los Angeles last week, Pacquiao seemed focused as he sparred six rounds with two sparring partners. He dismissed concerns that his new dedication to religion would somehow make him less aggressive in the ring, and said he doesn’t feel like he’s lost any of his speed or his power at the age of 33.

“This is my job,” he said. “I have a job to do in the ring. I’m not underestimating him at all.”

Pacquiao weighed in Friday at the class limit of 147 pounds (66.7 kilograms), while Bradley—who is noticeably more musclebound—weighed 146. It is the heaviest that Pacquiao has ever weighed for a fight.

Bradley, a 140-pound (63.5-kilogram) champion moving up in weight for his biggest fight yet, is the kind of fighter who could give Pacquiao trouble. He fights going forward, isn’t afraid to mix it up inside, and has yet to be beaten in 28 fights.

Mediocre opponent

Yet Roach sees him as a mediocre fighter with limited skills. He said if Pacquiao loses or doesn’t look good against Bradley he will tell him it is time to retire.

“Timothy Bradley is made for Manny,” Roach said. “He’s slow and he doesn’t punch hard, but he tries hard. Manny should eat him up as he comes forward.”

Bradley hardly seems overwhelmed by the hype that surrounds his biggest fight ever. He freely talks about his game plan for beating Pacquiao, and the motivation that has helped him win fights when he was in trouble.

He even brought an oversized replica of a ticket to the final prefight press conference announcing a rematch with Pacquiao on Nov. 10 after his win Saturday night.

“It’s been a long journey but I knew someday I’d get here,” Bradley said. “I just didn’t know when or how.”

Bradley’s fight plan

Bradley said he must resist getting in a brawl with Pacquiao, but says he doesn’t believe Pacquiao has one-punch knockout power. He plans to counterpunch Pacquiao as he comes at him, a style that worked well for Marquez, and will go to the body early and often.

Bradley, who grew up boxing in Palm Springs, California, has only 12 knockouts, but said he sees himself putting Pacquiao on the canvas at some point in the fight. People who criticize him as not being good enough to be in a big fight, he said, simply underestimate his heart.

“I’ve already been bashed in the media enough that it doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “I can accept criticism, but I just use it as fuel. I like it when people talk good about me, and I like it even better when they talk bad.”

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://twitter.com/ZALZANZIBAR ALBERTO ZALAZAR

    Tama ka …”ERO”,…kunwari ganito,…kunwari ganoon….pero….ANO BA ANG TOTOO?..nasa ibabaw na ng ilong natin pero…KUNWARI”… hindi natin nakikita?…ha ha ha ha ! malaki ang hinakot ng mga kadikit ni “PACMAN”… dahil sa kabila sila tumaya.! ha ha ha ha !  …

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/WC5IJSKXTZLNM3AV3VGPMM4O7Y ero

    hahaha ang pagiging changed man at bible study  ni manny is part of the game…… Magaling Magaling ang Publicist clap clap para maka iwas na hindi part of betting pero ang totoo he was part of the plan.. Managot kayo sa Dios manny  

  • http://twitter.com/ZALZANZIBAR ALBERTO ZALAZAR

    …There were a lot of signs that …”PACMAN” was not going to WIN,…& I guess he felt it,..& he knew it..
    & also..he is being.. “USED”…by these “FAKE BELIEVERS”…! ..Well,…he still got his $MILLIONS.$$$$$$.! 
    …One day  you will know what is the whole.. “STORY”…about this “FIGHT”…ha ha ha ha !

  • WAJ

    My gut feeling was right. Pacquioa is going to lose to Bradley by split decision. His performance in the ring has change a bit. I think it is better for him to hang the gloves and say goodby to the boxing world. Now, who are going to believe that GOD talk to him? Ang panahon ay lilipas din, hindi lahat ng bagay ay para sa iyo…

  • akimaxx

    The tempter (devil) came to him and said ,”if you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written; ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but ON EVERY WORD THAT COMES FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD’ ” (Mat 4:3).

    Manny has all the riches an ordinary Filipino can dream of, but he clearly understands that material riches and the word of God are two different things. He wants to dig deeper. He wants to understand the meaning of God’s love for us. Yes, Manny Pacquiao is a changed man but still hungers for the word of God. Read the Bible, it’s God’s love letter to us.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/DLPUUQLKHGLWXIKX6BXRS44CFA lovehandle30

      “very well said!” you can’t serve two Gods at the same time”

      • akimaxx

        Set your priorities to God’s promises. Spirituality first, physical realization soon to follow. Then we can thank our great God. The accumulation of these experiences are our faith file.

  • brunogiordano

    “Manny Pacquiao: A changed man but still hungry”

    GUTOM PA SA ANO????

    fill the blanks ___________________, _________________, blank, blank….
     

  • Htee

    Nawalan ako ng gana na kay pacski buhat ng sinabi nya na sa ibang lugar sya magbabayad ng income tax…mula noon ginamit nya ang bible para makaiwas sa tax…
    SAYANG NA BATA

    • daniboy2012

      ganon din ako…eh pa’no ba naman pinabayaan nyang paligiran sya ng ibat ibang klaseng demonyo….naloko o nagpaloko sya para di mag bayad ng tamang tax..siguro susut sa kanya ganito” Idol meron akong magaling na accountant kaya naming manipulahin yang tax tax yan..bakit ka magbabayad ng malake eh yong mga tusong mayayaman di naman  nagbabayad ng tax na husto, eh ikaw todo bugbog ang trabaho at saka nanakawin lang  ng mga corrupt nasa gobyerno”….kaya yon natukso si manny di nagbayad ng husto ..nong nasita ng BIR di malaman kung paano magpaliwanag, kase nagmukha siyang tanga …. para pagtakpan at  kaawaan, ayon nagbasa ng bible nagbago na kuno……haaayyyyy pati kasi politika pinasok eh parang pumunta ka nyan sa impiyerno..nandyan ang mga sinungaling , magnanakaw, babaero, lalakero, balimbing, nagtatalino talinohan, swapang at nagkukunwaring makabayan.

      • Htee

        Kung sa bagay siguro masyado ng nabugbog o naalog ang utak dahil sa boxing kaya ganyan ang takbo….
        Pero hindi pa rin sya exempted sa tax….magsabi na lang sya sana kung ilang gives baka pwede dahil PAMBANSANG KAMAO SYA…

        PERO GIVE PA RIN….
        pabibol-bibol pa…lolokohin nya ang mga PILIPINO….eh dati ng loko….

        Hihihi

  • daniboy2012

    Isa ako sa di naniniwalang nagbago na si manny……papuputol ko ang…..kung di na babaero si manny. Si jinkee kase rotokada na …eh gusto ni manny yong mukhang tindera sa talipapa.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000131301029 Yamashita Treasures

    PACQUIAO NEED TO LOSE TONIGHT SO HE WILL COME DOWN TO EARTH — HE WENT TOO HIGH NOW – HE NEEDS TO BE BROUGHT DOWN  — INCLUDE THE JINKEE AND DIONISIA BRING THEM BOTH DOWN TO EARTH TOO

  • isalexus

    So while Cong Pacquiao is training ande fighting to make another millions– who is minding the store for his congressional constituents? Is he absent on leave without pay from congress or does he continue to draw congressional salary and pork allotment? Will he or do he give balato to his constituents from the purse he earn while “in absentia” from his congressional post? Just wondering how this work,

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94