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Manny Pacquiao: Boxing is a full-time job

pac232by Joss Gooseman:

The boxing ring, where it all started
Watching Manny Pacquiao early in his career, one can not fail to note the raw talent in a scrawny, undernourished kid blasting his opponents in his fights in Asia. The natural talent was already all too obvious, the hand speed, the power at that weight class. And most important of all, the hunger, literary and figuratively. It was all so clear to see. It gave him focus. That hunger, that look of wanting to win. A simple scrawny kid fighting to put food on the table for his family motivated him. The burning desire to win was so inherent and so evident during those period.

The road to the top
Manny Pacquiao’s resume is star-studded- Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Angel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Juan Manuel Marquez etc. These names on his record were like steps on a ladder to the top. He was voted the fighter of the decade, three times Fighter of the Year, garnered a Best Fighter Award in 2009 and 2011, the only fighter to have won the lineal championships in four different weight classes and the first eight division champion in the world in which he won ten world titles, and he was considered by most as the best pound for pound fighter. Pacquiao was on top of the world. And when you are on top, there is other way but down. But Pacquiao made that downward slope much steeper.

The sideshow
It is common knowledge that Pacquiao gets distracted too often before his fights, like playing basketball with the boys, or some rounds of pool late into the wee hours of the morning, long games of darts, karaoke singing, and playing his guitar and singing in a band. But when he started getting into politics, acting in movies, and singing professionally, he was slowly but inexorably reducing the plateau on which he was standing on. According to articles in the Philippines, he was even thinking of being a pastor for a religious sect he recently joined. He was losing focus on his day job. His didn’t give as much attention to his roots as much as in the old days. He was euphoric with his fame and his millions. And when a fighter loses focus, it is a very dangerous proposition, mostly to himself.

Learning from others
He never learned form the mistake of Mike Tyson who lost to an underdog journeyman in Douglas because of distractions from Tyson’s personal life at the time with Robin Givens and the feud between Mike’s manager Bill Clayton and his promoter Don King. Pacquiao did not learn from the mistake of Lennox Lewis who made an appearance in the movie Ocean’s Eleven and then got KO’d in his fight with Rahman. Focus is tantamount to a combat sports like boxing. All your skills will all amount to nothing if there is no focus. It is the very foundation of any game plan.

Split second mistake
All it takes is that split second, that quick fleeting moment for a fighter to lose. Pacquiao executed a half-hearted and lazy jab then walked right into the right hand of Marquez. The impact was multiplied a hundred fold because of Pacquiao’s forward momentum. In that split-instant, one can positively surmise that Pacquiao got distracted. Maybe a fleeting thought about his agenda in congress? Or maybe in that miniscule moment, his mind wandered to thoughts of his engagements in showbiz in the Philippines? All it took is that split second window for Marquez to deliver that punch. And for a technically superb fighter like Juan Manuel Marquez, it was enough.

Philosophical about it
After the fight, Pacquiao went back to his hotel room with his entourage to watch the tape of the fight. His first words were- “spoiler alert, you will not like the ending”. People say that Pacquiao is just being philosophical about his loss, but what if there’s a deeper meaning in that gesture? What if Manny Pacquiao doesn’t care about winning or losing anymore, as long as he’s being paid handsomely? That boxing to Manny Pacquiao became his part time job now?

All we could do is speculate because we will never know would we?
Newflash, Manny, boxing is and was, and will always be, a full time job.

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