Like a blur, a flurry of five, six, eight-punch combinations. Most have been given fair warning, and blokes like Ricky Hatton even swore he had studied and knew what was coming. “Right hook, roll under,” The Hitman waxed philosophical. Fighters like him should be scaring the shit out of you. Most meteors like the one tattooed on his left forearm will when it connects. But then he flashes his smile and swindles you with his humility. Just enough to make you think he can’t be that vicious in the ring.
Millions of pupils dilate with fatal anticipation. Another legendary boxer’s ass kisses the canvas. Barrera, Morales, Mosley, Bradley, Cotto, and yes Hatton too. Not sure what happened to what he studied regarding that right hook and roll under, but he ate a left cross and graduated in round 2. Last names of first-ballot Hall of Famers and some of the greatest pugilists in history. Victims. Or as Shaq likes to call em, “barbecue chicken.”
Those who managed to stay on their feet, took permanent damage from the beating. Margarito, detached retina. Dela Hoya, detached dignity.
Yes, add Marquez to that list, too. Everyone remembers that perfectly timed counter, less that he compounded the blow with a nifty step on Manny’s Nikes, which clocked the Filipino legend out cold, face-first into the canvas and the Filipino masses crying as if another heroic activist got assassinated. Silence. Darkness. Like a small-time drug dealer’s final moments in Duterte’s war against human rights. But back to JMM – how many times did the Mexican legend hit the floor? How many rounds did it have to take, tears he shed crying he was robbed, hours he spent eating nachos with Nacho going through film to find every chink in the armor, supplements he took with Memo, only to finally land that one fortuitous punch, and then that boy said he was done and ran. No mas! After begging for multiple rematches and getting it, he didn’t want no more part of it. Marquez may be the greatest Mexican champ to many after conquering that dude who destroyed so many of his countrymen, but that was still a bitch move. Technically, Pacquiao still won that rivalry 2-1-1.
Yes, Pacquiao did get knocked the f out. But no, he didn’t stay down. He dusted himself and went ahead to whup a few more champions and snagged a couple more belts after, with his only real loss against perhaps the best boxer of the era not named Manny Pacquiao. And no, I’m not talking about that Aussie who gave him that farcical loss he took down under.
Let’s face it. For some fans of his victims, it’s hard to accept his greatness. But when the only 8-division champ drops that red leather bombshell to send your favorite fighter’s career in limbo, it feels like your life had just ended. You can choose to hate and hope he gets knocked out again then retire or you can choose to accept it and appreciate. But regardless, the legacy of Manny Pacquiao continues. I get how some pretentious, internet boxing troll turned blogger and self-proclaimed expert who never truly appreciated the unique chaos Pacquiao brought to the game can spin that as some pactard shit, but that simply is just “facts”. Manny Pacquiao’s legacy continues. Like it or not. 40 and not a day younger. Manny Pacquiao’s legacy continues, while most have been done, dead and ended. If you can’t appreciate that, then that’s just some hater shit.
Like my favorite boxer growing up Roy Jones, Jr. rapped, “Ya’ll must’ve forgot?!” Pacquiao looks like a beast at 40. “Pacquiao hits harder than ever,” said Freddie. Watching his LA training clips, Pac definitely looks like he hardly missed a beat. “I’m not going to predict, but I’m going for a knockout against Broner,” said Manny, claiming he himself has forgotten the excitement of finishing an opponent after dispatching the explosive and dangerous Lucas Matthysse in seven rounds last July in Malaysia. Surely he didn’t spend the holidays training overseas if he intended to take it easy. But fickle is the average boxing fan, and after more than two years of absence on American soil, it’s easy to understand why most have forgotten just how good Manny Pacquiao is. On January 19 against Adrien Broner at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Manny and many of you have a lot of catching up to do.