Can’t waltz with Father Time
His handlers say Manny Pacquiao, 39, will be a lot younger when he fights WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse on Sunday. That’s easy to believe.
The question is: how really young? Will he be, say, 25, 27, 30, come fight time?
Can Manny still blaze and brawl like a fierce young lion, like the original Pacific Storm?
Pacquiao himself cannot provide an apt answer, although he has loomed firm and luminous following the rigid two-month training in GenSan City, that included what they called the Rocky regimen, scaling terrible heights, short of parking up the mountain and chopping timber.
His camp has announced that a young Pacquiao will be throwing a lot of punches, coupled with great head movement, terrific footwork.
In short, perfectly repackaged for redemption, all set to barge back into the elite circle of prizefighting.
Manny indeed looked fresh and strong, ready to rock, on Monday when he left for Kuala Lumpur with his huge entourage.
OK, but come Sunday at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, will the Pacman be as young and mighty as when he toppled Ricky Hatton cold and out in two rounds?
Or greater than when he battered and finished off Miguel Cotto in 2009 for his last knockout win?One thing for sure, he cannot be expected to be as loose, predictable as when he suddenly grew old and dropped a disputed decision against Jeff Horn in Brisbane a little over a year ago.
There undoubtedly was some rush—they did cut corners—in firming up Pacquiao after a year-long inactivity following his shaky finish, when he was caught spent, boxing under a cloud in the final three rounds against Horn.
His camp promises a thrilla in Malaysia, with Manny running circles and dominating Matthysse.
Slower and less flashy, Matthysse has been tagged a 2-1 underdog.
It would however be dumb to overlook the fact that Matthysse, younger, happens to possess knockout power in both hands. He could also jam Manny’s magnificent rhythm, by refusing to rock and swing. He could score with strong deliberate moves, including damning body shots, soundless as waltz steps on the dance floor.
Unlike Pacquiao, Matthysse happens to have won his last two fights by knockout.
Pacquiao could indeed rock and blaze like old again.
Matthysse could also waltz in secretly, a phantom similar to dreaded Father Time.
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