Pacquiao watch: Road to CotaiBy Edwin Espejo Nov 03, 2013 5:58AM UTC
Three weeks from now, boxing fans will know if Manny Pacquiao still has what it takes to be on the top of the heap again after a disastrous 2012 campaign that was punctuated by a nightmarish knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.
At 34, Pacquiao is a veteran of 61 fights – a rarity nowadays and more than anyone could wish for in these days of carefully plotted careers of boxing superstars.
He has taken the boxing and sports world by storm in the last decade beginning with the sensational stoppage of another boxing legend Marco Antonio Barrera exactly 10 years ago to this month.
He is a throwback to fighters of a bygone era when pugilists took all corners and raised no questions. He fought the best of them – big and small. From the smoke-filled boxing arenas in faraway corners in his homeland to the bright lights of Las Vegas – the new Mecca of boxing.
From the gangling, wild, swinging, gung ho fighter to the elite record holder who is locked in for a place in the Hall of Fame.
There were humps and bumps along the way. He has had four losses. Although one of them was a highway stickup.
At no time has his boxing career reached a more critical crossroad than now however. He is out to exorcise the demons of his past two consecutive losses. He is now back angry and hungry. He has come full circle to begin again.
Pacquiao knows a decisive bounce back from the KO loss to Marquez will redefine him as a truly all-time great in boxing.
Many are asking, however, if he has more left in his tank.
But many have also forgotten that Pacquiao has always risen to the occasion and has repeatedly overcome setbacks both in life and in his boxing career.
On November 24, Pacquiao is out to prove 2012 was an aberration.
Sure, he has slowed down a bit before the Marquez debacle going 4-0-1 (win-draw-loss) prior to the KO loss. However, that impression has only given Pacquiao the incentive to revert back to his old destroyer self.
Those who are doubting his passion and determination have never understood the adage in sports to never underestimate the heart of the champion. In boxing, he is a champion eight times over in eight divisions – a distinction only he holds.
Those who said he was shot never saw the nuances of his last fight with Marquez. Pacquiao, despite a freak knockdown early in the fight, was decisively punishing the Mexican until he ran into that perfectly timed overhand right.
Brandon Rios, who says Pacquiao has been to too many tough battles and could be ripe for the picking, better be ready when the Filipino boxing champion heats up to silence his critics and begin tearing him apart.
Rios better be warned. The more you spite Pacquiao, the more you light up the fire in him.
And there is more than plenty for all the firemen in the house to handle.
The road to Cotai will be full of a burning desire to make the world understand Pacquiao is here to stay.
Watch him prove himself three Sundays from now.