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What Does Pacquiao Have To Do To Silence His Critics? Part 2

Manny Pacquiao Miguel CottoBy Joel Nepomuceno: As I stated in my article before this one, one of the key criticisms of Manny Pacquiao is that he hasn’t fought anyone in their prime, or that his opponents have all been shot or weight drained. Critics continue to argue that Pacquaio is only great because he’s only fought weight drained fighters. They always seem to ask, “why is he insisting on demanding catch weights?”

I’m not sure exactly who these weight drained fighters the Pacquiao critics are referring to. As the only fighter that Pacquiao has fought that came down in weight was Oscar De La Hoya. Did Pacquaio’s critics expect Pacquiao to jump 3 weight divisions from June to December, to go from 135-154, to fight Oscar De La Hoya, who was ranked the #6 Jr. Middleweight at the time? Has any fighter in history ever done that before? Is that not too much to ask?

After the Oscar De La Hoya fight, Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach stated that 140 is Pacquiao’s limit. Yes, the bout was at welterweight, but Pacquiao weighed in at 142 and come fight night, his unofficial weight was in the neighborhood of 147. Obviously, Pacquiao couldn’t reach the welterweight limit if he wanted to. And why put on an extra 5lbs of fat which will decrease his hand speed?

His demand for a catchweight is not about draining his opponents so they are not at their physical peak. He’s not using a catch weight to his advantage, but rather, to take away his future opponent’s advantage. His three next potential opponents are Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, and Floyd Mayweather. All three are natural welterweights. All three have come into the ring at roughly 158-160lbs during fight night. Is this not a significant advantage for Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, and Floyd Mayweather. Those three fighters are already great (all belong on the pound for pound list), now they are going to have a 11-13 lbs. advantage of Manny Pacquiao?

How is Manny Pacquiao being criticized for asking for a catch weight from these guys? The top 3 welterweights in the sport today? Instead of asking why Manny Pacquiao is asking them to lose so much weight, shouldn’t the question that be asked is why are they asking Manny Pacquiao to gain so much weight? Fighters, especially top epsilon fighters such as Cotto, Mosley, and Mayweather pay their nutritionists six figure salaries to make sure they’re making weight the right way. Oscar De La Hoya said before his fight that he felt faster and stronger than he’s ever felt. After the fight, he felt sluggish because of his weight. Something tells me it’s not his weight, he was just shot. (I rated that win over De La Hoya as overrated as well)

As far as for Cotto, Mosley, and Mayweather, I don’t see anything wrong with meeting in the middle. For Oscar De La Hoya, Pacquiao jumped two weight classes, and Oscar came down one. Does that sound fair? Did anyone give Manny Pacquiao a shot at winning the Oscar De La Hoya fight?

So, one may ask, if Manny Pacquiao will have a hard time fighting at 147, why does he not stay at 140lbs? The question that I ask of his critics is, would you rather see Pacquiao vs. Cotto, Mosley, or Mayweather, or would you rather see Pacquiao fighting Bradley, Witter, and Kotelnick? Which would make the most money? Which would make the most PPV buys? Which are the fights the fans want to see? Which would do more for each of the fighter’s legacy?

If Pacquiao did stay in his division and fought Bradley, Witter, and Kotelnick, would he not be criticized for “ducking” Cotto, Mosley and Mayweather? Would you say that he’s ducking the best in the divisions around him? If his next opponents are Cotto, Mosley and Mayweather, then he’ll be criticized for asking them to drain themselves. If he wins, then he’ll get no credit. If he loses, then his critics will say that he was never good to begin with, so which is it?

There have also been talks about Pacquiao avoiding Paul Williams. This is laughable and any writer who tries to make this argument needs to find a true calling as writing may not be for them. Paul Williams? The guy who is 6’2, 82” reach, recently fought at Middleweight Paul Williams? Williams started his career at Jr. Middleweight, yes, he’s had 7 fights at Welterweight in the middle of his career, but he has not been at welterweight in 4 fights. 4 fights ago, Pacquiao was at 130 lbs. Can you imagine Paul Williams fighting at Cruiserweight within the next year? Is he avoiding Tomasz Adamek?

The Ring Magazine, boxing’s bible, has unanimously voted him as the Pound for Pound best. And the critics are having a field day with this as they say that if he is the Pound for Pound best, then he should fight and beat Cotto, Mosley and Mayweather at their weight.

But let’s examine what Pound for Pound really means. It means that a boxer, within his own weight class is the best, across divisions. Within his own weight class is the key aspect. So if Isreal Vasquez wanted to jump in front of Bernard Hopkins, would he have to jump to Light Heavyweight to prove he’s better? The formula is, weight aside, who would be the best. So to insist he has to fight Cotto, Mosley and Mayweather at their natural weight division is mute.

Not everyone agrees that Pacquiao is the Pound for Pound king. However, a majority of experts, seem to agree that he is. Experts who get paid to analyze fights, fighters, and boxing itself. Who ever the athlete, there will always be critics. Some are justified, some are not. However, in the case of Manny Pacquiao’s nay-sayers who argue that he only fights weight drained opponents, I challenge them to name anyone, other than Oscar De La Hoya, that Pacquiao has fought in the past that fought below their normal weight class. In the case of his three next potential fights, all pound for pound contenders, all naturally bigger than Pacquiao, is it fair for them to come in with an 11-13lbs weight advantage come fight night? Is it unfair to ask that they meet their significantly smaller opponent to meet somewhere in the middle? Reasonable fans that use logic, agree that it’s not unreasonable. However, critics will always find aspects of ones career to call into question. As my parents used to say, you really can’t please everyone.

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