Be prepared: I lay it on pretty thick here, and it is only because my previous post was a love fest for Miguel Cotto, so this post is strictly Manny Pacquiao.
At this point, I think most know that Manny Pacquiao is one of the most exciting fighters in combat sports. That's right — not just boxing, but in all of the sports where two people square off to prove who's best. If you don't see it this way, you are one of three types of people:
1. In denial: You are so for Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 that you refuse to admit that Pacquiao is not only a formidable opponent, but also an exciting customer at the Cotto counter.
2. New to boxing: You have never really been a boxing fan and are just starting to check it out. You perused a few Web sites and have heard of this "Pac-Man" but figure he's overrated, and you're not going to give in to the hype.
3. A moron: In general, you are just not too bright. You probably mope through life disagreeing with pretty much whatever people say just to make them angry. You are also probably the person that is always in front of me when I'm driving.
My advice is simple:
Denial guy: I understand how you feel. I have my favorite fighters as well, and I know you just don't like anyone challenging your man, but please admit to yourself that this is a great fight between two great fighters. Now go put on your Cotto shirt, cross your fingers and get ready for a solid fight. Trust me, you will live a happier life if you just give in on this.
New to boxing guy: Go to YouTube, look up Manny Pacquiao and watch some of his fights, or at least some of his highlights. Read a little about him, maybe check out his Wikipedia page and watch 24/7 on HBO, which will give you a little insight into his accomplishments and personality. Then, if you still don't agree, follow the advice for the moron.
Moron: I'm not sure how you even got this far in the article! You and I obviously have nothing in common, and I'm pretty sure I don't like you. You should go watch a different sport because you obviously can't tell when a fighter is exciting and fun to watch. You're probably the type of guy that would dis Arturo Gatti, too. Shame on you. Also, get off the road … you are always holding me up. My commute would be much easier without you.
Now that those morons are out of the way, I will continue.
We all know that Pacquiao is entertaining, talented and one of the best parts of the sport we all love so much. We know that he has great reflexes, fast hands and what seems to be an endless amount of energy. We hope that Nov. 14 will be an explosive show and that Pacquiao will once again give us an entertaining night of boxing.
That is why I want to tell you a few different reasons why I love Manny Pacquiao, something that maybe you can’t find anywhere else. I can only read so many articles about Pacquiao and this fight before I start to get bored, but I am so excited for it that I can't help but write about it anyway. So here goes.
How I Love Manny Pacquiao, Let Me Count the Ways:
1. 106 pounds: I could honestly write that Pacquiao weighed 106 pounds in his first fight, and he is now fighting a guy at 145 pounds (a catch weight). That is amazing to me! How does a guy who once weighed 106 pounds add that much weight and still be so good along the way? (Or I could spell it "weigh" if I really wanted to be funny.)
A fighter gets the most accolades when he moves up in weight to heavyweight, but this feat is as big an accomplishment, if not bigger. I will always be impressed by what guys like Chris Byrd, James Toney and Roy Jones Jr. were able to do: start at middleweight and win their way up to heavyweight. (I picked these three because it's about the same amount of weight, and I personally watched them all do it. I’m not going to talk about Henry Armstrong because I was born in ’78. I didn’t watch him fight.) The difference is, Byrd took advantage of the fact that he was the smaller, faster guy in a land of slow giants. Toney could have been better if he would've backed away from the table. Jones didn't test himself after he won the title.
Pacquiao is not only moving up, he looks as if he has been getting better all along the way.
When a fighter looks as good as Pac-man has in his past few fights, it's easy for people to discredit his opponents — but it's always after he destroys them that they are discredited, not before. Ricky Hatton looked like a new man when he stopped Paulie Malignaggi. Now, people talk about him as if he were an average club fighter, and it’s all because of how Pac-man ended the fight.
Weight drained, washed up, shell of a fighter — these are all the things Oscar De La Hoya was after he fought Pacquiao, not before. I am finding a common theme to Pacquiao's opponents lately. Even when he fought Erik Morales a few pounds ago, Morales beat Pacquiao fair and square in their first fight, then suddenly was washed up overnight for their next two.
Is it out of the question that Pacquiao is one of those special athletes that raises his game as he continues his career? He is only 30, so it's not like he is an old dog that can't learn new tricks. That brings me to my next point …
2. Manila Ice:
2. Manila Ice:The Hayemaker is David Haye's go-to punch — his heavy right hand. Yet naming it is cocky, arrogant and somewhat desperate. Yet Manny Pacquiao names his right hook "Manila Ice," and for some reason, I think he's the coolest boxer to step foot on the canvas. In all seriousness, I think it shows how much both he and Freddie Roach really enjoy doing what they do, and that translates to fans watching his fights. They are having fun in a sport that can at times wear down its fans with all of its B.S.
Manila Ice is such a cool name, too. It should be Pacquiao's fighting name, it's so good. (I may have exaggerated on Hayemaker … I actually kind of like that one, too. What can I say? I'm a sucker for theatrics.)
3. Swagger: When I think of someone having swagger, I think of cool, calm, collected and confident, almost to the point of being uncaring. I think Jack Nicholson, Frank Sinatra and Paul Newman. I would even say Miguel Cotto has that classic swagger I am referring to, but not Manny Pacquiao. He has something different. He has a swagger that's all his own, that of a hyper kid from your elementary school days. You remember that one kid growing up who could never sit in his seat, always got in trouble and was still somehow the coolest guy in class? That's Manny Pacquiao to a T. He's not cocky, but still confident and caring. Not worrisome, but definitely cool in his own way. Come on, how many other boxers can get away with having a singing career?
4. Piano Solo: You can show someone why boxing is such a great, beautiful and amazing sport just by having them watch a Manny Pacquiao fight — especially lately. He embodies all the great things that a famous piano solo should have: finesse, grace and, when the time is right, aggression. If I had to turn Manny Pacquiao into a song, it would be a combination of "Fur Elise" and "Flight of the Bumble Bee." He is so fluid in his motions, even though he has a staccato, choppy rhythm. I am always amazed at how well he combines all the elements of aggression, speed and power in an almost reckless manner, but rarely crosses that line to sloppiness.
5. Fighter: At the end of the day, Manny Pacquiao is a fighter. He can sing all he wants, mingle and dabble in politics, do movies, commercials, and even appear on a postage stamp, but at the end of the day, he knows he's a fighter. He is always prepared, always puts on a good show and never lets his fans down.
Manny Pacquiao is something special in boxing: a guy who is guaranteed to give you your money's worth. I was a little upset that the Hatton fight didn't last longer, but that doesn't mean I wasn't impressed. I wish the De La Hoya fight had lived up to expectations, but I was still amazed at what Pac-man had done. I was rooting for him in the first Morales fight but was satisfied with the night of boxing in the end.
I love Manny Pacquiao because in this day and age when I have to pay 50 bucks for the sport I love so much, he gives me an entertainment guarantee — a boxing warranty, if you will. And on Nov.14, I can't wait to cash it in.
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