T-30 Days: A Look at Manny Pacquiao

Continuing our analysis, now 30 days out from the biggest boxing match of our generation, we take a look at Manny Pacquiao. Please do take a look at the quick treatise we made for his opponent, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

I’ve started talking in the previous post on how us, the BMB team, started this blog to document the sport through it’s transformative years with Floyd Mayweather Jr. as a focal point. Just as Yin cannot exist without a Yang, Manny Pacquiao has also been a main BMB focal point in a style that cannot be any more different to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Manny, in contrast, is similarly difficult to write about amongst other boxing journalists in the sport because of the weight of his name, his image, his legacy, and especially, his country. It’s hard to speak about him as a fighter when he is literally and figuratively representing humble beginnings that are still happening in the nation of the Philippines. As a Filipino-American, I struggle, because hyphenated identities are still defining their legacy, but Manny had arguably moved that legacy forward since moving to Los Angeles. Filipino-Americans welcomed him with open arms and joined to train with him and (hopefully) respecting his desires to focus on this fight. It was telling to see Manny fly early to the Wild Card gym to train for this fight, maybe not as an eager move to prepare, but to escape the pressures of a whole nation that desperately pleads for his victory. I feel Manny is truly grateful to fight the best, and is eager for a chance to prove himself, and would rather focus on that feeling once he is across the ring with the champion rather than feel the weight of his country on his shoulders. He finds solace in his light personality and is trying to enjoy the event, rather than be reminded that at one point he was fighting to feed himself and his family.

Looking past Manny as an icon, I believe we see someone that truly any Filipino and immigrant could relate to. “Manong” Manny, as his crew calls him now is 2 years younger than Floyd Mayweather, but has to his claim a family of kids almost as tall as he is now. He commands respect in circles not necessarily political because he’s put the work and earned it many times over. However, he graciously polite to anyone as he would be polite to any stranger. His energetic humor is something that quite isn’t represented in American channels just because the general public likes to think of him as a cosmopolitan, but I just see him as supremely restless and ravenously hungry for opportunity. It’s as if his appetite for experience has scaled up proportionately compared to his wealth and status, starting from fighting as a young, homeless boy. He still retains a world-view as light as a kid with a whole day of adventure and opportunity ahead of him.

This is why the matchup is tantalizing, electrifying, and beyond predictable. If Floyd is a spiteful retaliator, Manny is an “Opportunity Maximizer”, as his volume-punching style hides the fact that every one of his punches immediately changes his outlook and informs his next action, within milliseconds. His feints shake opponents to the core, allowing him to capitalize with blows that could fall a man twice his weight. Over the years he’s also been able to change his game by introducing better feints, head movement, and foot placement. People talk about his speed, but what really makes Manny a threat is his eye for offense, offense, and continued offense. If Floyd is training to fight one fight 3 times over, Manny is training to fight 3 times the opponents in one fight.

Applauding Manny’s style is not fair without comment on his knockout in the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez. I could’ve written of the similar contrast in styles with Marquez and Pacquiao, but I think all commentary of this argument actually undervalues the preparation and work Marquez displayed, and the deserving result of that fight and arguably his fights with Manny before. In the end what I see is 30 rounds to 18. Manny still consistently shows evidence of a world-beater, and his knockout is just him playing the cruel numbers game. Marquez was focused on redemption and he got it.

What is upcoming is 12 rounds on May 2nd. If Manny isn’t as focused in those 12 rounds on redeeming the 47 other fighters that couldn’t pull off a win, he will not succeed. But I believe the styles for that night are perfect, and I just hope the execution reveals character and action in both fighters that we have never seen before. Manny’s outlook on recent media has been nothing but happy and eager, and to me, that’s a good sign. It’s a telling signs that understands what Mayweather is capable of doing and how he may in turn respond. Will Manny see opportunities in the best boxer in the world? Or will he too, fall to Mayweather’s traps and his authority of confidence? It seems like even though Manny is the Vegas underdog, the world is behind him, and cheering for his victory, including myself. However, even though I’m scared, I take comfort in Manny’s knowing smile, that everything will be OK.

 

T-30 Days: A Look at Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The bloodmoney boxing crew has been admittedly quiet, in contrast to other boxing fan sources, about the upcoming Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao superfight and I’m writing today in hopes to analyze why we hesitate in our excitement. Is it doubt? Is it fear? Is it the feeling that we don’t want to be buttered up only to be let down?

“I won’t believe it until the first bell rings…”

“It’s weird that most of the actual promotion work is being done by the fans, as if the boxing powers that be are actually downplaying this fight…”

This blog was founded in 2011 on the theme of a group of friends passionate about the heritage and tradition of the sport of boxing, but also because of the stark realization that the sport was changing right before our eyes, and we wanted to document it’s journey.

To us, it’s no surprise that Floyd Mayweather Jr. was to serve as an important focal point for our blog, but we chose a different stance. We realized that Floyd is just the obvious target and instead tried to look beyond and through Floyd Mayweather Jr. to discover what was behind the fighter, the caricature, the record, the motivation, the values, the philosophy. Kind of like deconstructing Michael Jackson’s stratospheric rise in pop music as an icon, we were similarly analyzing Floyd to understand the truly unique stamp he has and is putting on the sport. Hate all you want, he has created a legacy. It is not legacy that fits the archetype of past legends of boxings, but it is a legacy nonetheless and has changed boxing since Floyd has been in the sport.

Floyd’s 47-0 record is a number people like to put on a pedestal. I will openly dismiss these numbers because I would believe that Floyd felt actual fight competition in the ring only a handful of times, and I’m perfectly OK with that, at least examples of competition exists. It’s only when it doesn’t exist that I start to feel nostalgia for years that have been long past. The present idea of “Boxing competition” has changed the sport and the fans for the worse because it whet audience appetites for “favorites” and such concepts like “A-side” and “B-side”. Al Haymon has fully capitalized on that appetite by creating a boxing world where B-sides expect to lose and are happy to pick up a paycheck, and fans are satisfied following and witnessing “win” after “win” of their favorites as they promote a winner’s lifestyle, instead of championship pride. That’s the thing, though. Floyd the boxer wasn’t manufactured that way, it only seems so. Floyd’s lifestyle, royalty, and on-camera grace veils a championship drive that’s as old as the sport. It’s just that he also happens to be an American living in Vegas in 2015 and has appealed to fans with his achievement of gilded chariots and golden thrones, as opposed to the millions of hours of work that he’d rather downplay with words and interviews in his mansion.

If we look at his boxing we see another story. It’s easy to dismiss and compartmentalize Floyd’s boxing style as defensive. If I were to put words to his style it would be something like “Spiteful Retaliation”. He trains to fight a dragon and makes certain that his body and reflexes can fight the fight three times over come fight night. There’s so much evidence that this fight he’s training more, and respects the potential Manny Pacquiao that will show up May 2nd. This fact speaks volumes on promoting this fight, without any of the mouth that the fans are accustomed to. What does this mean for the fight? What is he preparing to unfold on May 2nd?

I chose the words Spiteful Retaliation because I wanted to write “Tai Chi”, except Floyd does not exude that grace. Tai Chi supposes that energy has existed and has always existed, and all there is to do is to redirect and guide it. Close analysts of Floyd’s style and students of the defensive style of boxing can see that he does that but to me, he taps into his own reserve of energy that actually feeds off opponents energy. That consumption of energy is spiteful. He feasts on the aggressors that he’s welcomed into’ his trap and retaliates with timing and placement. There are other examples of punchers that hurt, but Floyd seems to have studied pressure points on the body and head. Other times, he just plays with the head knowing that disrupts just about every fighter, and keeps them on their feet only to his pleasure of maximizing his time underneath the lights.

It might be telling that Floyd is training so hard. To me it signals a different attitude coming into the fight. To me it’s him challenging the old guard and proving his worth amongst the hall of fame. It does feel like Floyd is coming with a chip on his shoulder and is aiming to not only direct his spiteful retaliation to his upcoming opponent, but also to the whole world. His aim just might be to knock out the entire world on May 2nd.

Floyd scared? Manny Says “Kinda”

Credit goes to the Ring Magazine article (http://ringtv.craveonline.com), but this is a crazy compilation on basically what would make ALL of my 2014 be the best of all years, a fight between Manny and Floyd. We’ll see, but overall, after this video, and if Floyd NEVER fights Manny, I would still tell my kids that Manny was the people’s champ, period.