Can Pacquiao make it on his own again? | Inquirer Sports
Bare Eye

Can Pacquiao make it on his own again?

IT COULD be too late now to make the winning move by refusing to be a robot.  The last time Manny Pacquiao dumped the required fight script was in the middle of the third round in 2009. This was in his fight against Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto, whom he floored in the seventh and finished off in the final round.

Pacquiao, sticking to the plot prepared by mentor Freddie Roach, was enjoying an early exchange with Cotto. Until he was caught by a crushing uppercut to the jaw that had him seeing cracked stars midway in the third round.

Roach, of course, refused to freeze although he did not holler out any remedial instructions.

After sailing through the killer shot, Pacquiao decided to take things into his own hands. He moved out, and started confronting the opponent around center ring. He was not instantly successful, but after deciding to be his own man, Pacquiao went on to score a sensational stoppage against his dangerous bigger foe.

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There would be no other Pacquiao of that unrobotic kind hence. It was to be Pacquiao’s last KO encounter, until he was stopped cold by Juan Manuel Marquez three years later.

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Freddie Roach has not been told of this. But in November 2013, before Pacquiao’s successful comeback  against Brandon Rios, Cotto came over to Macau as a guest of promoter Bob Arum.

“What do you think of the fight?” this reporter asked the heavily tattooed Cotto, who had just stepped into the elevator on the 17th floor of the Cotai Venetian Hotel. He was in a white sleeveless T-shirt.

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“Oh Manny, he’s very much a boxer,” Cotto exclaimed with unconcealed awe.

There was no way to ask if Pacquiao’s decision to move from the ropes after Cotto caught him with that jarring left to the jaw had turned the bout.

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For his part, Roach did admit faintly that Pacquiao had made some successful ad-libbing against Cotto.

* * *

There was again no way to ask and determine if the break from the fight script saved the bout for Pacquiao.

But it’s being stated here with the hope Pacquiao would again do it his way once things don’t turn out as Roach has prepared for and expected in today’s do-or-die meeting with Floyd Mayweather. Jr.

You see, there’s an overwhelming expectation all over the Philippines for a big Pacquiao win, preferrably by knockout.

In fact, the national excitement has seen people from all walks of life visibly thinking—if not already preparing—of an impromptu party.

* * *

Will there be dancing out in the streets? No need to doubt.

Will Monday be declared a national holiday? Why not?

So what could stop the celebration? Nothing really, considering that Mr. Roach has overprepared Pacquiao to be supremely fast, strong, aggressive, if not with perfect weight.

The way Roach has been putting it, the hard-to-hit Mayweather would be cleaned up once Pacquiao explodes and turns his unbeaten opponent into a punching-picnic dish.

One thing has remained unclear: Will Roach, great at crafting blitz offensive, be able to holler out defensive remedies once Mayweather counters, plays it flat-footed and also pushes for a knockout?

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As it’s not certain if Pacquiao has been properly honed in defense, shouldn’t the national boxing treasure again be his own man, lean on raw basics, to prevent the possible cancellation of a national holiday?

TAGS: Boxing, Manny Pacquiao, Pacquiao Last Fight opinion, pacquiao vs mayweather column, Sports

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