It was a reacquaintance that many had been hoping for, as the Manny Pacquiao of old came out in full during the defeat of Brandon Rios.
It's something fans hadn't seen in full-flowing motion since late 2011: a Pac-Man with a cause, making for a classy display despite not necessarily having all the usual criteria for "class."
Again, it was a familiar tale in the unanimous-decision win over Rios as Pacquiao rallied around what the 27-year-old had to throw at him, returning with a barrage of his own and then some at every turn.
From the first minute to the last, the veteran looked as sharp as ever, and while this latest challenge won't have been or indeed go on to be one of his toughest, it was a relief to see the old ways in effect.
At 34 years of age and slipping off the back of two consecutive defeats, there was the concern that the Philippines' hero had fallen, but here he was in the wake of a new disaster, fighting for a serious cause.
Even against Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao had showed glimpses of his strengths—the ability to ride the opponent's punches, coming back in kind with his own—but Saturday night showed an altogether more clinical creature.
In the video above, Rios highlights that Pacquiao was hugging, alleging that "the old" Pacquiao wouldn't have strayed to such tactics, but the best of this return is still yet to come.
As the vacant WBO International welterweight title was cast over the victor's shoulder upon decision, it felt like spectators had been cast back in time. A dominant Pacquiao performance with nobody in doubt as to just who had won this bout struck as familiar.
According to BBC Sport, judges scored the fight 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110, an absolute mauling on Pacquiao's behalf and something crowds were growing used not to seeing.
The losses to Marquez and Timothy Bradley last year naturally tainted the fighter's image, with fans becoming distanced from what first made Pacquiao great.
Dennis Gasgonia of ABS-CBN News says that the Filipino legend landed 241 shots to Rios' head, while the younger of the two could only managed 37 in kind—a fitting statistic for the bout.
It's anyone's guess as to what lies next for Pacquiao, who, now once again fighting for a cause in the wake of recent disasters, is as primed to strike as ever. Saturday's reunion with an old friend of the sport couldn't have gone more smoothly.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!