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Pacquiao Revamped

Manny Pacquiao Miguel CottoBy Trevor Weis: Manny Pacquiao is dead. The brawling aggressor has changed, evolved; he’s not the Filipino slugger that caught our attention—he’s become the Living Legend that captures our hearts, our respect, and speaks to us on some inexplicable level; he’s become something else completely… He has sprinted full-speed ahead since his humbling loss to El Terrible in 2005, leading us boxing purists on a 10 fight, 4 year winning streak. One thing is certain: he is paying us back for our loyalty.

This new Pacquiao has speed, power, and technical soundness that have yet to be rivaled. The one-handed brawler with a big left has evolved into a thinking, tactical machine with shotgun power in either hand. It’s not often a Saint becomes a demon—but in that ring, he breathes fire.

Ricky Hatton was wondering how he ended up on his knees before he even realized he ate a sharp right hook. Mayweather picked Hatton apart in ten. Pacquiao ran a train over him in two. Mayweather won a debatable split decision over De la Hoya; Pacquiao pushed the Golden Boy into retirement inside eight brutal rounds. And one must admire Mayweather’s technical and defensive ability—he doesn’t make exciting fights, but he knows how to win. The undefeated technician left the ring with his mouth running. He returned on the morning of Pacquiao’s big fight to talk himself up as the returning king; without saying a word, Pacquiao let everyone know who wears the crown right in the center of the ring.

When Pacquiao steps into the ring against the Puerto Rican Bull, Miguel Cotto, he will be challenging a legitimate welterweight champion, a top-10 RING Magazine pound for pound fighter, and a naturally bigger man. Floyd Mayweather should be taking notes right about now…

All I read about is why Pacquiao isn’t fighting Mosley, whether it’s fear or “cherry-picking.” Maybe Pacquiao doesn’t want to hear about how old and weight-drained Mosley would be, or how Mosley was out-pointed by Cotto in a unanimous decision in 2007. In fighting Cotto, Pacquiao is trying to beat the man that beat the man; even though I can see no way to fault Pacquiao should he emerge victorious, I’m sure on Sunday, November 15th, the blogs will be riddled with “Cotto was damaged goods.”

Maybe we should praise Pacquiao for the feats he’s reached, the wars he’s waged, and the bigger boxers he’s bested. Everyone has weaknesses, even Manny. Just because Pacquiao and his three-time trainer of the year, Freddie Roach, can create and execute a near flawless game plan, that doesn’t make him a cherry-picker. It makes him dangerous.

The post De La Hoya era belongs to Manny Pacquiao, boxing’s biggest draw and most marketable star. Mayweather can contest the loss of his throne, but cannot rightfully reclaim it until the ruler of boxing has been unseated.

Instead of contesting his recent wins, dissecting the weaknesses of his defeated opponents, and criticizing him for demanding catch weights when challenging naturally larger and stronger opponents, all I have to say is this: how blessed we are to have a champion, a courageous warrior like Manny Pacquiao.

With humility, grace, and undeniable skill, Pacquiao is paving his own way in boxing history.

All hail our King.

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