During a recent training session chronicled by the LA Times, Manny Pacquiao confided in trainer Alex Ariza about being restless. Ariza came to a revelation that Pacquaio, at age 33, preparing for his 60th professional fight Saturday night at MGM Grand against unbeaten Timothy Bradley, is officially dealing with age.
Said Ariza in the Times story:
You think about an athlete like Manny and how he got here in life, from nothing to becoming this bigger-than-life icon, it's always been go, go, go, drive, drive, drive. It's worked for him.
But by continuing to put that into his sport, that relentlessness backfires on him. We have to remember he's 33, and apply sport as a science.
After back-to-back flat performances in decision victories last year over Shane Mosley and counterpunching specialist Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao has a lot to prove in his fight tonight against the undefeated Timothy Bradley Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
So much has been said about Pacquiao's recent performances and his age that Bradley looks to be an even more dangerous threat than originally imagined.
What Pacquiao needs is a knockout victory against Bradley, not a decision victory. He needs to prove to the world that he is still the same dangerous boxer that the media once believed. Don't forget it wasn't too long ago that the media and people alike believed Pacquiao to be the only boxer able to defeat Floyd Mayweather. With a knockout win over Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs), all becomes forgotten about his struggles, his age and his possible future in the ring.
Pacquiao may be in for his most important fight in recent years. He needs a victory against the undefeated Bradley—not only to prove all the doubters wrong, but to prove to himself that he can not only keep up with everyone. To prove he is still one of boxing's top fighters.