Manny Pacquiao Didn’t Lose, He Got Old
Manny Pacquiao didn’t lose on Saturday night in Australia against Jeff Horn, he got old.
We can argue until we are blue in the face about ESPN’s coverage, which focused more so around “hot takes” rather than substance, a trend that spans all the way to oval office right now as Manny Pacquiao looked like a slower, less motivated fighter at 38 years-old losing to a fighter most hardcore boxing fans couldn’t identify prior to the bout in Jeff Horn.
It was the type of showing in which rounds seemingly went by in which you would wonder if Pacquiao was simply timing Horn, who came forward like a ram, what you’re supposed to do if you don’t have the skill of the legend you’re in the ring with and yet outside of the ninth round, each round was surprisingly and shockingly close.
The simple fact is Pacquiao fought a fighter in that fighter’s native country and was in a subjective hard to score. Not surprising is the fact also that in a close fight, the fight goes to the hometown fighter. It happens. What was more telling was the fact that Pacquiao looked to have regressed since fighting Jessie Vargas and didn’t appear nearly as fluid as he once did or even in his last outing. At times, it appeared Pacquiao was letting off a counter punch only to pull back on it as if he didn’t trust his own timing as a clumsy and laboring Horn plowed forward replicating a Rocky Marciano style of boxing, trying to hit any part of Pacquiao at all times.
What was more telling was the fact that Pacquiao looked to have regressed since fighting Jessie Vargas and didn’t appear nearly as fluid as he once did. At times, it appeared Pacquiao was letting off a counter punch only to pull back on it as if he didn’t trust his own timing as a clumsy and laboring Horn plowed forward replicating a Rocky Marciano style of boxing, trying to hit any part of Pacquiao at all times.
Yet regardless, even if Pacquiao had of won this bout, this should be the end. Pacquiao no longer looks like the same fighter and sadly it looks as though he is simply fighting for the money and less so for the drive to be the best.
During a time when Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather carried the sport of boxing was when I truly got into watching boxing and even though it created the super fans and the ugly divided in boxing that still lingers, it also was a special time for the sport. Pacquiao is truly one of the best of his generation and a transcendent star, who changed boxing despite moving up quite a few weight classes without losing his power. Pacquiao regardless of how you scored the bout looked off and the fights only get harder from here as Horn is hard to favor against the current top five welterweights in the world.
Horn was adequate, a better fighter than most gave him credit for being, but he also was unsophisticated with his approach as he focused solely on being bigger than Pacquiao and bullying him. It just looked like Horn beat Pacquiao based on size and age and not a lot more than that.
The fight which was televised on network television, ESPN to be exact, saw great ratings, 4.4 million at its highest and came away with a discussion at the very least. The interesting thing about Top Rank moving away from HBO is the fact that now their next generation truly has a chance to be known outside of niche market as athletes of all walks of life weighed in on social media on the Pacquiao fight.
Though a rematch potentially looms, I personally hope Manny Pacquiao calls it a career since things can only get worse from here.