Bare Eye

Tracking Pacquiao’s phantom defense

The quick shot that toppled Keith Thurman in the first round looked every bit a lucky punch. It was noted here previously that there’s no such thing as a lucky punch in Manny Pacquiao’s incredible arsenal.

Pacquiao’s combined genius and might forms the core of a nameless fury that has pushed him up, up to unlimited super stardom.


Yes, it was not a lucky punch, although visibly awkward, unplanned.

No, Freddie Roach cried, they had prepared long and worked very hard to perfect the weapon. Go to the body, boom, blam, move in and out, emphasis on footwork, punish the midsection, then come over the top with a right hand.


“Thurman has a weak body. If Manny does what he’s supposed to do, he will knock him out,” Roach declared a little over an hour before Pacquiao moved out of his dugout in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Keith Thurman, by the way, had been the biggest critic of Pacquiao’s defense, or the lack of it.

Pacquiao was wholly ready for war, fully armed. But what sort of defense, if any, did he bother to pack and wield?

Although there was no open declaration, Pacquiao obviously fought, survived and shone with the career core motto that says great offense is good defense.

The idea was to jam, blunt or stop the attack right at the very source.

No ifs, no buts. Thurman, in a blaze ahead, was scoring big early in the opening round. He appeared ready to take the round, until he got clipped and flattened by an overhand right to the head. Thurman fell, got back with a wry smile on his face.

He did not know what hit him.


In the tenth, Thurman was starting to dominate with murderous combinations, until he got raked and rocked with a killer left to rib cage. He sailed sideward senseless, but Pacquiao tarried and allowed the opponent to escape.

There were those who continued to wonder what formula, if any, Pacquiao used against the bigger and very able Keith Thuman.

Pacquiao’s sharpness, speed and power were outstanding.

But how did he survive the 192 power shots, the most number of blows recorded by Compubox in the 43 Pacquiao fights it had tracked?

“Manny took a little too many hits and maybe a little too much punishment,” Roach said.

Wasn’t Thurman right in claiming that Pacquiao doesn’t know what defense was all about?

Pacquiao dodged the bullet said veteran deadline beater Percy Della from stormy seaside Tamurng in Candon.

Correct, but didn’t Pacquiao actually agree and willingly bite the bullet?

Wouldn’t it have been saner if he had tried and adopted the mature and deliberate style used by the likes of Muhammad Ali and Bernard Hopkins in the latter fading parts of their great careers?

Pacquiao’s nameless defensive style, a paradox, also appeared to culminate with the acceptance of a blade or bullet.

It’s hit and get hit; forget about putting up a standard defense.

The wanton style, like it or not, has indeed paid its dividends.

There appears no other way to wage a fabulous Pacquiao war.

Subscribe to Inquirer Sports Newsletter
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

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.

TAGS: Boxing, Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.