imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

The Pacquiao that was not

I am one of the many Pacquiao fans who jubilated last July when he won via a split decision agains Keith “One Time” Thurman.

I am a die-hard Pacquiao fan, fellas.

CompuBox said Pacquiao landed 195 of 686 punches for a 28 percent rate.Thurman landed 210 of 571 or 37 percent. CompuBox concluded that Pacquiao threw more but landed less. Thurman admitted “my output was just behind Pacquiao’s … I wish I had a little bit more output to go toe-to-toe.” CompuBox said Pacquiao out-jabbed Thurman by a mile, 82-18, when in fact Thurman has the longer arms and Manny only has “T-Rex” arms!

Now, why is it that Pacquiao won if he landed less and absorbed more?

CompuBox is the statistical agency that counts how many punches are thrown and landed in a fight. Last July 21, it reported that Keith Thurman’s 192 power shots were the most connected on Manny Pacquiao in 43 bouts it has tracked. CompuBox was established in 1985. It uses a computer program where the system involves two operators. Each operator watches one of the two fighters and has access to four keys, corresponding to jab connect, jab miss, power punch connect and power punch miss.

Sports analyst Quinito Henson explains: “In terms of rounds, Pacquiao out-landed Thurman in six so they were even. But in the first and 10th rounds which Pacquiao clearly won in the three judges’ scorecards, CompuBox said Thurman out-hit the Filipino icon. Thurman landed more, 13-11, in the first round and 24-21 in the 10th. Obviously, the CompuBox numbers are only a guide – they don’t determine which fighter deserves to win a round or a fight. Pacquiao broke Thurman’s momentum in the 10th where he cracked a thundering left hook to the liver, causing the undefeated American to cringe and double up. Thurman spat out his mouthpiece and ran for cover with over a minute left. Surprisingly, CompuBox had Thurman out-punching Pacquiao, 24-21, in that round. The three judges awarded the round to Pacquiao, 10-9. Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune said it could’ve been justified to score it 10-8 for Pacquiao because Thurman was badly hurt and scampered for dear life.”

Sports writer Arianne Gift adds: “In the first round, Thurman was knocked down by Pacquiao using his right hand, proof that despite using his non-dominant hand, Pacman still has a lot of power. Pacman also came out the busier fighter compared to Thurman, who had 57 thrown per round to the American’s 48. The 40-year-old also delivered a liver blow in the 10th round that almost stopped the fight.”

Pacquiao won, alright fellas, but, like his coach Freddie Roach, I am not convinced of his victory. He was not his old self anymore. He did not have that volume punches anymore. He was a lot slower in his footwork now than when he fought Morales, Margarito, Cotto and de la Hoya.  Above all, he was no longer the finisher as when he was at the peak of his prime. First, he knocked down Thurman in the first round. And then, he nearly floored him in the tenth with a vicious dig to the belly. But in both instances, we did not see a Pacman with his volume punches to finish him off which he could normally do to any opponent 10 or 15 years ago. He became so tentative that he failed to show the old Manny who floored a lot of opponents in his 20s and 30s.

Roach said that, even as Pacquiao was turning in perhaps the best, certainly the gutsiest, performance of his long career, he saw some hints that the time to step away is now.

Pacquiao knocked Thurman down in the first round and Roach said, “Earlier in his career, he would have finished him right there. He normally would have finished a guy there.”

Caezar Sotto says it best: “A 40-year-old Manny still has plenty of gas left, but for the benefit of the fighting senator, he needs to rest. There is nothing more to prove; he will surely be cast as a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. In his career, Manny has become the only 8 division champion in the world. He has beaten Mexican legends like Antonio Barrera, Eric Morales and Oscar De La Hoya, to name a few. He has never backed down from a challenge, beating larger fighters like Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto. In his 24-year career, Manny has proven that he can prosper against the odds, starting as a lanky featherweight contender, he was always up to the challenge. But it’s time to hang the gloves. Calls for Pacquiao’s retirement started as early as 2012 when he was brutally knocked out by rival Juan Manuel Marquez. The same sentiments echoed when he was robbed of a victory against Jeff Horn in 2017.The Filipino icon promised to fight next year, by then he will be turning 41; at that age, Manny is no longer at the height of his powers. In case you haven’t heard, two recent deaths have shocked the boxing world this week, the risk of getting injured is not out of the window.”

And may I add in conclusion: His Fighter of the Year awards in 2006, 2008, and 2009 had made him the Fighter of the Decade (2001 to 2010), putting him in the illustrious company of all-time greats Sugar Ray Robinson (only two-time Fighter of the Decade awardee), Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and Roy Jones Jr. What else does Manny need to show to the world?

Pacquiao should remember that everybody will soon succumb to Father Time. Muhammad Ali and Roy Jones, Jr. insisted fighting despite their advance ages, and they were brutally mangled by younger fighters to exit in embarrassment. For years of boxing, Ali was afflicted with the dreaded Parkinson’s disease, a disorder of the nervous system that affected his muscle control. Marked by trembling of the arms and legs, muscular rigidity and poor balance, Parkinson disease slowly ate him up, causing problems with his walking, talking and difficulty in thinking which hounded him until he died.

If Mayweather won’t come out of retirement anymore (for a battle of the 40 somethings) for a last-ditch multimillion-dollar paycheck, let him be. He now lives in comfort and contentment with his 50-0 record.

It’s time to retire in glory, Senator Manny.

Just concentrate in serving us.