First off, Manny Pacquiao won that fight. Sure the judges can talk all day about scoring it per round and how it’s not american idol but they will be the only 2 people among the millions who saw it, who would think so. I mean if you think Bradley won, then by all means, post a comment and let’s debate about it. I’ve seen the fight at least 3 more times since yesterday and I’ve scored it the same way every single time. 118-110 for Manny, with bradley winning the 6th and 10th rounds only. Now I’m no boxing expert by a long shot but I scored it as objectively as i can, meaning looking at how the boxers were moving, the punches that were thrown and landed and overall agression. Every single time, Manny won, but as we all know, those 2 judges saw it differently and we really can’t do anything about it anymore.
Even if I think Manny won, there was still a lot of instances when he could’ve finished the fight had he been a little bit more agressive. Round 5 was the round that I thought he dominated (even if the 2 judges saw it differently) and he had a golden opportunity going into round 6 to really finish him off. But for some reason he took his foot off the gas pedal. Bradley survived and the rest, as we know, will now live in infamy.
But why exactly did Manny slow down? Was he tired? Was he cramping up again? Did bradley change his style which threw him off? Is he, as a lot of people are saying, over the hill? Only Manny can say for sure but from what I saw, and I believe what everyone else saw, Manny was waaaaay better in this fight than the Marquez fight and here’s 2 reasons why and how.
1. Disciplined Training Camp
I’ve had the privilege to observe the last 2 training camps of Manny up in the Shape Up boxing gym in Baguio city. Ever since Manny started training here, he hasn’t lost a fight (until yesterday). The first time I saw him was for the Marquez fight. That was the first time I saw him train, and by golly, he really is a machine. For both fights, his schedule was crazy, running in the morning and sparring or resistance training in the afternoon. That’s where the similarities end though. For the Marquez fight, and for most of his fights before that, Pacquiao would play basketball, billiards and would generally stay up late with his friends. There was none of that for this fight. What replaced those late nights were nights of meditation and prayer since we all know he turned back to his faith.
Some people thought that contributed to his lack of aggressiveness in the fight, even going as far as suggesting that he should go back to his gambling and womanizing ways. Pleeease. Any good athlete knows the importance of discipline, not only for his training sessions but also for his ife outside of the sport. It took a while for Manny to learn this but in the end, it will no doubt benefit his conditioning and might even prolong his career.
2. Punch Stats
Pacquiao Marquez was close. Pacquiao Bradley was a blow out. Stats don’t lie. The top picture shows power punches but if you see the total stats, it’s all the same. Manny had the higher landed percentage shots. Of course the judges don’t see this. So it will still be subjective. But like I said yesterday, wow, wow, wow, wow.
Still we can’t discount the fact that again, Manny should have been more agressive but I don’t think it wasn’t because of his calves or his conditioning this time. In fact, we should really give credit to Bradley’s conditioning more than anything else. He may have less power than Manny (which I think is more of technique rather than conditioning) but he withstand Manny and injuries to both legs. Even though he slowed down in the later rounds, Manny was still considerably much more fresh than he was in the Marquez fight and I believe it’s because of his renewed sense of discipline.
Can Manny do more to prepare for the rematch? Oh for sure, he can work on his explosiveness for one, which doesn’t necessarily mean, more plyometrics. It means better length tension relationships that I believe he is already addressing with his myofascial therapy. He also needs to train smarter especially now that he is getting up there on age. Less roadwork to preserve the muscles and more High intensity interval training. At least that’s what I think.
I was asked by a TV show yesterday if I think the fight was rigged. That is such a difficult question to answer but here’s what I think, and I didn’t say this on the record because it’s ridiculous but hey, it might be a factor. There was no foreseeable fight for Manny on November aside from a possible rematch with Bradley. I don’t think another Marquez fight was possible and Floyd being in jail will not agree to one. So a rematch would be the biggest draw, and it would only happen if Manny lost. So there, that’s my conspiracy theory. It’s probably bogus, but it makes you think huh?