What a night of boxing! Top Rank put on a great show last night showing off a new wrinkle in perspective, preparation, and perseverance by my man Manny Pacquiao. The undercards were also a delight in the rolling thunder of Andy Ruiz Jr. making Tor Hamer quit boxing [ahem] sorry, on his stool.
Andy Ruiz was getting hit a lot by Tor’s basic punches, and was getting through to Andy’s cross guard, which used to have been very successful for him. He adjusted, but also smeared on a lot of mustard to change levels on his jab and throw hooks on his head, while ending the 3rd round in a crescendo of blows to the body. Andy even looked disappointed at the end of that round, hoping he would be able to wind into what seemed like a full blown dempsey roll once he really got warmed up. He looked like he lost some weight and gained some height coming into this fight in Macau, so hopefully he’s taking the fight game seriously, because he really has some talent underneath that flab. Who knows, he might be taking the inverse-Pacquiao path, and as he loses weight, he’ll be dominating the lower weight classes 😉
Pacquiao. I have to admit, I should not have been surprised at his performance last night. He was cautious but determined, and he seemed totally in focus other than the fact that he was expecting the ref to split up the clinch a lot sooner that he probably expected, resulting in a lot of blows to the back of the head. He played the game smart, and probably showed the game plan Roach had intended to implement to Marquez if it wasn’t for the counterattack. Marquez, like Rios, has a beautiful left hook that isn’t overly flashy but really gets the job done. Both boxers have an innate talent in hiding the power driven all the way from their stance to that slightly-uppercut left hook that’s extremely dangerous and strong. Manny was able to beautifully evade away at the exact same time he was throwing his straight right, almost obviously telling his fans, “Hey guys, I’m still here, I wish I was able to show this to you guys last time, but you know, I got knocked out.”
Pacquiao was almost annoyingly patient, until I realized the power he was divulging for each of the combinations that he seemingly reduced to a fraction on what they used to. He actually seemed to be loading up on his combinations, starting off strong, and then given the speed of delivery, following up with another full power blow if necessary. That was the key, he was really only doing what was necessary, and it was eerily Mayweather-like. Please don’t listen to the boxing pundits out there (I’m talking to you Doug Fischer) wondering where the “PacMan” is and crying over not being able to use the words “Tornado”, “Hurricane”, or “Whirlwind” when describing Manny’s style. Times have changed, friends. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to 21st century fighters.
The 21st century fighter knows how to stay in shape well into the late 30s and 40s (see The Alien). The 21st century fighter has a tight crew around him/her continually challenging mental strategies in fight. At this stage, its philosophic, almost religious, how the 21st century fighter approaches the next challenges. The 21st century fighter has no static style, adaptation and evolution is inevitable, and can even occur before, during, and after rounds, fights, years.
I for one am very happy to see Manny increase the weight of his brain through the preparation for last night’s fight, and is evidence for the many fights yet to come for our dear hero PacMan.
I have revised my predictions for Mayweather’s fights, and now have included a prediction for Manny’s next fights as well.
Mayweather vs. Khan, Pacquiao vs. Alvarado, Mayweather vs. Bradley, Pacquiao vs. Broner, and then hopefully, God willing, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao 2015.