It will have to be a KO
The boxing experts will say, “Wait till you see it” or “Let it come to you.”
But for the forthcoming showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao has no choice but to go for a knockout.
It should be decisive, clear and unquestionable. No judges will be able to touch that KO outcome or have any influence on it. Mayweather will have nothing to rant about save for a rematch plea. The flooring will be shocking and earthshaking and result in wild celebrations in this country.
Pacquiao returns to the ring as an underdog anew, not because of skills or accomplishments but simply because of the context of the battle. The bulk prefight negotiations have mostly been in favor of Mayweather. Pacquiao has allowed Mayweather to announce the fight and have the edge in the prize money.
Pacquiao also reenters the ring as a dayo (visitor), in spite of all his previous accomplishments in Las Vegas and elsewhere in the United States. Las Vegas is also Mayweather’s town and there are odds makers who believe that “Money” is the fighter worth the bets.
This is probably no different from that early part of Pacquiao’s career when he plied his trade in Thailand and got the call slip to fill in for his first fight in Las Vegas. He’s a little more known now but the call to prove himself arises anew.
The opponent is the undefeated Mayweather and not just another name drawn from a now very short list of possible foes. This is the champion who has beaten 47 previous opponents and wants to finally shut up the Filipino fighter who many believe is the only one who can come close to stopping him.
Mayweather is a skilled opponent whose defensive prowess anchored on a shoulder roll has made him hard to hit. He also has speed and power, capable of matching Pacquiao’s arsenal of quick and powerful hands.
Never one to brag about his skills, Pacquiao will probably say sheepishly in all his forthcoming interviews “Tingnan natin (Let’s see)” when asked about the need for a knockout win. He may not say it out loud but it will be in his mind and Freddie Roach’s as well as they prepare for the biggest fight of their careers.
Mayweather is beatable. When I covered the Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya fight in 2007 in Las Vegas, I thought Golden Boy had a chance but was probably fighting Money too late in his career. De La Hoya tagged Mayweather with his boxing skills and just fell short of landing a big punch.
He broke down Mayweather’s defense just like other opponents who have done it. Pacquiao is fully capable of doing that and if he sees the opening, he can land that flurry of punches or one big shot to floor Mayweather.
Again, Pacquiao opponents prepare like crazy to counter the Filipino’s power and speed. It all looks good in training and shadow boxing. But once inside the ring with Pacquiao, that power can be a force of nature, enough to etch the number one on Mayweather’s unbeaten record.
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