No less than a knockout
LAS VEGAS—If Manny Pacquiao is keen on regaining the luster of his legendary ring career, he must beat Jessie Vargas convincingly.
A split decision is unacceptable, a unanimous verdict barely passable.
Pacquiao needs no less than a knockout. The quicker and more devastating it comes, the bigger will be its impact on his stature as one of the greatest fighters of this generation.
Pacquiao knows this, of course.
That’s why he knocked down Tim Bradley twice, Chris Algieri six times and rocked Brandon Rios several times.
He may not be a big puncher at 147 pounds, according to chief trainer Freddie Roach, but Pacquiao still packs a mean wallop.
According to Roach, boxing fans are simply longing for the fiery, feisty Manny of old.
The one that would pepper a hapless opponent with a flurry of punches to finish off. They don’t wan’t Pacquiao to stagger his foe, only to back down a bit.
Of course, Pacquiao’s hesitation is understandable. He’d committed the mistake of going for the kill against Juan Manuel Marquez and got caught with a massive counter that left him senseless.
Such knockout lingers on the mind.
Others put the blame on Pacquiao’s Christian beliefs, which turned him into a pitiful boxer.
After seven years, however, the fans have gotten tired of Pacquiao’s ring antics.
They want the” bad side” of Pacquiao back.
If he delivers a quick knockout over Vargas on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), Roach is ceratin his legion of fans and the adoring throng wll be back.
Forget about the empty Pacquiao bus for his relatives opted to ride in SUVs for the trip from Hollywood to here last Monday.
Forget also that neither HBO nor Showtime opted to beam his fight against Vargas on pay per view. They reached the decision from a business perspective.
For another, Vargas wasn’t a popular choice.
Neither is Pacquiao’s decision to come out of retirement just months after winning a seat as senator.
Thus far, however, ticket sales at the Thomas & Mack Center are improving and PPV demands are rising, acccording to promoter Bob Arum.
The decision of Anta, China’s giant sports apparel manufacturer, to get him as an endorser also proves that he remains popular in Asia.
Just one big knockout and Pacquiao’s popularity will soar once more.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.