Is it the end of Manny Pacquiao by Peter Leopeng

So Juan Manuel Marquez knocks Manny Pacquiao out cold in the 6th round and the world gets stunned? Well not everybody was shocked. Certainly not those who understand the craft and art of boxing. Those who listened attentively when the hype was high with Pacquiao seemingly going through the divisions like a hot knife through butter, would have heard some of us saying Pacquiao’s meteoric rise was mainly due more to luck than anything else. Luck, you wonder? How come? Well here’s how?

Pacquiao really captured the world’s attention when he beat Erik Morales in Las Vegas in 2006 to capture the WBC International Super featherweight title. Several wins later, he won a controversial split decision WBC Super featherweight belt against Juan Manuel Marquez in March 2008 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. You can say Pacquiao won by a single point, 114-113 as two other judges were split 115-112, for each of the two boxers. Now folks, it doesn’t get closer than that. So if this is not luck, it is pretty close to it.

Then the Filipino stopped David Diaz in 8 rounds in June 2008 to claim the WBC lightweight title. This has to go down as Pacquiao’s finest win as Diaz had up until then only lost once to Kendall Holt.

But the fight that really put him on boxing’s radar was the one with Oscar De La Hoya in December of 2008 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. His stoppage win in the 8th round over the Golden Boy propelled Pacman to full-blown superstar status. Those who thought Pacquiao would not stand a chance against multiple world champion De La Hoya, overlooked several factors: De La Hoya had to drop down to the welterweight division and the last time he fought as a welter was when he lost his WBC title to Shane Moseley in 2000; De La Hoya was way past his sell by date. Why even Freddie Roach, who had previously trained De La Hoya had said during the fight promos leading to the Dream Match that Oscar “can’t pull the trigger anymore”; De La Hoya had lost 3 of his last 6 fights and had only fought 4 times in as many years. So to the initiated, a loss to Pacquiao was expected;

Manny’s destruction of Ricky Hatton in 2 rounds in May 2009 at the MGM grand is really nothing to write home about. Prioir to that Hatton had been hopelessly exposed not only as “has been” but really “never was”. After much hype, Floyd Mayweather had destroyed Hatton in 10 rounds and laid bare the pieces that Pacquiao picked up later.

By the time Pacquiao met Miguel Cotto in November 2009, he was so much of a crowd favourite that he could dictate rules of engagement. Cotto had to almost starve himself to death to make the debilitating welterweight limit. The result was a devastating 12th round stoppage win for Pacman.

Pacquiao then defeated Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBC junior middleweight title. Margarito was a spent force after first been stopped by Shane Moseley in the 9th round and having to be banished from the ring for two years for illegal wrapping of his hands.

Then in May 2011, Pacquiao met another has been in Shane Moseley. The former lightweight and welterweight champion had no game plan coming into the fight. In fact he had a game plan and his was to survive the full twelve rounds and finish the fight on his feet. Although he achieved that, he lost by a landslide with scores of 120-108, 120-107 and 119-108.

Pacquiao was again the recipient of a controversial victory over Marquez when the two met for the 3rd time at the MGM Grand in November 2011. This time by a majority decision.

But when Pacquiao faced a boxer who didn’t have to struggle with weight, who was in the prime of his career and most importantly, who was undefeated in Tim Bradley, the Filipino was found wanting. Despite injuring his leg early in the fight, Bradley frustrated the man who was supposed to have blasted him out of the ring in less than 6 rounds. Amid cries of “we wuz robbed” from Manny’s camp, those who knew their boxing weren’t in the least surprised. Pacquiao was a one dimensional boxer with very little imagination, who relied on overwhelming his opponents with a barrage of punches.

For their fourth bout in December 2012 Maruez had to do some adjustments. As he said in the post fight interview, he had to continue counterpunching and be patient. In the sixth round he was rewarded as Pacquiao, leading with his face and paying little attention to his defence and Marquez’s punching power despite being dropped for a mandatory 8 count, walked into a text book straight 2-inch right. He was unconscious long before his body hit the canvass. Referee Kenny Bayless started to count but stopped at 2 when he realised that the twitching body of Pacquiao needed immediate medical attention. It took almost 5 minutes to get Pacquiao back on his feet.

The result was a sad one for those who were hoping to cash in on the much anticipated Mayweather-Pacquiao blockbuster. Mayweather and Pacquaio lost out, the fans missed out; the promoters wondered what could have been, and moi lost out betting against those who refused to see the obvious