Manny Pacquiao: Areas in Which Pac-Man Must Improve to Ensure Future Success
Let's face it, Manny Pacquiao isn't the same boxer he was two years ago, or even two fights ago.
The 34-year-old star dropped both of his fights in 2012, snapping his seven-year winning streak and falling back down to earth in shocking fashion. So, what does Pac-Man have to change in order to make a victorious return in 2013?
Below, we'll highlight some of the key areas Manny Pacquiao must improve in to salvage his boxing reputation in the future.
Defense, Defense and More Defense
Although many contend that Juan Manuel Marquez caught Pacquiao with the perfect punch last December, Pac-Man's poor defense in that key moment was just as responsible for the devastating overhand shot.
Pacquiao's defense has fallen off dramatically over the years and it finally caught up to him in the Marquez fight.
If he's going to bounce back, he's got to shift his focus from offense to defense and improve on his ability to read his opponent and anticipate punches before they're thrown. We know how talented Pacquiao is as an explosive, powerful and fast striker, but that strength can quickly develop into a weakness if he's fighting with insufficient defense.
This is hands-down Pac-Man's biggest weakness right now.
Maybe it's age. Or maybe it's the result of having taken part in over 60 professional fights. Whatever the cause, Pac-Man has lost some of his fire and drive as of late.
It's not that Pacquiao looks uninterested inside the ring, but it seems as if he is simply going through the motions sometimes, whether it be in his preparation leading up to a big fight or in his surprising defeat to Timothy Bradley Jr. last summer.
Obviously, complacency is going to set in at some point when you're dominating the way Pacquiao was coming into 2012. He had won 15 straight fights and 54 of his first 59 overall. But if there's nothing left to prove in the sport, Pacquiao must find something new to fight for.
Motivation and inspiration are both huge in bringing out the best in an athlete. Pacquiao needs to find some quick.
Where must Pac-Man improve the most?
Yes, it's hard to be patient and in control when another man is trying to knock you out cold, but if Pacquiao wants to return to the top of boxing, he must exercise more patience inside the ring.
That doesn't mean he can't take his chances and throw some risky punches when the reward is great, but it's important for him to understand each and every situation. Going for a knockout late in the 12th round is understandable and makes sense, but going for broke in the sixth round against a lethal opponent is more foolish than brave.
It's said that people get wiser as they age, and in the case of Pac-Man, hopefully that saying applies to patience.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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