Manny Pacquiao: 5 Signs His Skills Are Starting to Decline
WBO Welterweight Champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KO) defeated and dominated Shane Mosley (46-7-1, 39 KO) this past weekend to win a unanimous decision over 12 rounds.
Many fans were disappointed in Mosley's performance, which consisted of constantly running away and refusing to engage, but there were even more fans disappointed in the Filipino superstar.
He was able to knock the four-time world champion down in the third round, but that was the only moment that distinguished himself from other Mosley opponents.
Many wanted wanted more out of Manny, and these are five reasons maybe his best performances are behind him.
No. 5: Not as Busy as Usual
CompuBox punch stats found Pacquiao throwing a total of 727 punches throughout the 12-round distance against a very defensive-minded Mosley.
That isn't a small number, but when you compare that to when he fought Joshua Clottey, who fought a similar defensive fight, Pacquiao was shown to throw a career-high 1,231 punches over 12 rounds. He had the chance to break another record here.
In the Antonio Margarito fight, Pacquiao threw 1,069 punches and broke several personal CompuBox records.
Styles make fights, and maybe it was just the style matchup that had Pacquiao not being as busy as we are use to seeing. Mosley's consistent effeort to show no effort may have just annoyed Pacquiao more than anything, so he wasn't willing to throw as much and take a chance of getting knocked out.
No. 4: Has He Lost the Desire, or Does He Have Too Much Respect?
It may not even be a physical thing with Pacquiao when it comes to trying to figure out ways in which his skills may be declining. It may just be a mental thing, and it starts with him having too much respect for his opponents during the fight.
We first saw this in the Cotto bout. As Pacquiao unloaded on his Puerto-Rican opponent, he occasionally stared at he referee, hoping he would stop the beating. The referee eventually did in the very last round.
In the Margarito fight, we saw the same thing. After 11 rounds of punishment, Pacquiao didn't let go in the final round with respect for his opponent's health.
There isn't too much more Pacquiao could want, and he is already doing everything he wants to do. His life as the best boxer in the world and a politician for his country may have taken some of the desire out of him to show the fire and intensity he had in the prime of his fighting career when he destroyed Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales.
Mosley doesn't bring the same type of intensity as them two, but Pacquiao does, and we didn't get to see it this time around.
No. 3: He Looked Slower Than We Are Use to Seeing
Usually, Pacquiao is one of the most destructive fighters with hand speed and footwork, but there wasn't much of it this time.
He certainly didn't look as fast as usual, and he wasn't as busy, either.
It could just be an off night for him, but an off night against Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Juan Manuel Marquez equals a big loss on the end of your record.
He did admit to leg cramps after the bout, which is a recurring problem and one that significantly effected his performance.
No. 2: Manny Admitted to Having Leg Cramps Again
"In the middle rounds my legs got tight. I went to move but it was tight," said Pacquiao in the post-fight interview. "I have to work on my legs because my legs were hurt."
These are problems he has had before, most notably in the Juan Manuel Marquez bouts, so maybe they aren't anything new—but why can't he fix them, and are they getting that bad that they affect him throughout the length of the fight?
The last thing a fighter who relies on speed wants is to have no legs, and if this is the case with Pacquiao, it's going to take some considerable work to keep them from cramping up in future bouts as he gets older.
Lets hope he gets it solved before he faces Floyd Mayweather Jr., because that would be a disaster if he had no legs against someone as slick and crafty as a boxer like "Money" Mayweather.
No. 1: Have All the Ring Wars Caught Up to Him?
It's hard to see the damage that Pacquiao takes in his fights because he dishes out more of it to his opponents, but he still has had his fair share of ring wars.
Triple bouts with Erik Morales, dual bouts with Marco Antonio Barrera as well as fights with action fighters like Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito may be starting to take their toll on the pound-for-pound king.
At 32, this is the age where those types of things that he did when he was younger may start to take their physical toll.
We can't forget that he also has an extensive eight years fighting professionally in the Philippines, and he was even more wild and offensive in those fights.
What have they taken out of him?
These aren't things we are going to see till someone is older, but all we have to do is look at some of his recent opponents to see how age effects them.