It has been suggested that boxer Manny Pacquiao had lost appetite for professional boxing and was no longer regarded as one the best pound for pound fighters in the World. Two recent defeats against Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez intimated that his developing political career in the Philippines House of Representatives was becoming more of a personal priority than his boxing performances. By defeating Bradley in a rematch for the WBO Welterweight title on Saturday evening, it may have rendered those accusations somewhat premature.
Previously unbeaten Bradley had earned a controversial points decision over Pacquiao when both boxers contested a title bout back in 2012 and then the Filipino fighter was unceremoniously knocked out in the sixth round by Marquez just sixth months later. Having not stopped an opponent in seven prior visits to the ring, the doubts were beginning to surface as to Pacquiao’s remaining ambitions as a boxer.
Pacquiao’s previous points win against Brandon Rios could not be described as impressive and when the rematch was confirmed with Bradley, it was considered as a fight which could potentially end the former champion’s involvement with professional boxing.
The Filipino had defeated many of the legendary figures of the ring in prior years including Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto but 31 previous wins by Bradley had earmarked as a solid, effective if not unspectacular fighter who didn’t really possess the ability to stop the very best boxers.
Yet the fight between the warriors on Saturday evening proved that while Pacquiao may have temporarily lost the skill to produce the knock-out punch in fights, he still retains his famed boxing skills, a point which Bradley adhered to in his post-fight comments. Pacquiao dominated most of the contest to regain his world title but it was also a demonstration that he can rebound from the criticism directed in his path during the past two years.
Whether Pacquiao can regain the aura of invincibility, which he appeared to possess not so long ago, is open to question but there is no denying that it is still too early to dismiss his future credentials as a leading player at the weight.
There is also a certain Floyd Mayweather who holds the WBC and WBA versions of the Welterweight title and who would be able to provide the ultimate test of Pacquiao’s capabilities. Boxing politics are such that a fight between these two legends of the ring may never materialise which will be a real shame for the sport. Both boxers have now beaten all the main protagonists in the division and it just seems practical that the respective authorities should authorise a much anticipated contest.
It may never happen and while Manny Pacquiao may have restored his boxing reputation at the weekend, a promised bout with Mayweather may be his only hope of retaining a hunger for the sport.