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Facing Manny Pacquiao

Flashback: How Floyd Mayweather Engineered The Greatest Duck In Boxing History-media-1

Want to know what it’s like to get in a ring and fight the eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao without having to actually do it? This feature talks to several opponents of the left-handed all time boxing dynamo and gleans details, anecdotes and insights on the unique experience…


FACING PACQUIAO  By Scoop Malinowski
Justin Jukko:  “I think the only guy who can maybe beat Floyd is Manny Pacquiao. I sparred with Pacquiao, over a hundred rounds. A lot of people don’t know that. The thing about Pacquiao is his power. And he’s awkward. I think Floyd will have problems with him. You can’t tell what punches he will throw. That’s the problem. They have different styles. When you have different styles, that’s when you have a good fight. Also, Pacquiao’s a southpaw and he’s strong, fast, and he throws volumes of punches. It’s a very good contrast of styles.”
“It’s a tough call. All I can say is who is the one who sticks with the gameplan. By the seventh or eighth round when things start changing, you start to fight the guy and forget the gameplan. To me that fight is a very tough call. I know both guys. Floyd is very technical. You can’t match him. Pacquiao is very tough, he’s strong. Unpredictable. It’s gonna be a good fight. Pacquiao is a strong guy. And he doesn’t just throw one punch. Floyd is so sharp. He doesn’t throw as many punches as Pacquiao but they land. Pacquiao’s power is deceiving. He overwhelms you with punches. He puts so much pressure on you.”
Oscar De La Hoya:  “It’s different [kinds of] speed. Mayweather is a guy who times you. He’ll throw a fast shot and boom. Mayweather will not throw a combination. He’s not that type of fighter. A three or four punch combination, he’s not that type of fighter, Pacquiao is. He’ll (Pacquiao) throw a four, five, six, seven punch combination and [throw it] fast. I would say, today, both guys might be the same. A few years ago, four or five years ago, I would have gone with Pacquiao. Both guys have slowed down a bit but both are still pretty quick. I would have to say they’re even.”
Marco Antonio Barrera:  “He had very good defense, and it was hard to break through. He hit me with very few punches, very few combinations. I thought I controlled him with my left hand. I lost my head in a couple of the rounds. I think I got too caught up in things. I shouldn’t have stayed in those exchanges. I should have just kept boxing him. I thought I boxed him really well.”
David Diaz:  “His speed was unbelievable. It was something I never experienced before in my career. Even though I fought Zab Judah in the amateurs, Pacquiao’s speed was unreal. I was like, Oh wait, I didn’t see that. I knew we were in for a tough fight. I wanted the fight to be a war, he wanted to box.  I wanted to slug and make it a rough fight. He wouldn’t engage, he would punch and get out. He did it to a tee. He stuck with his gameplan. I got out of mine.”

“I think his best attributes are his ability to move, his speed. And his awkwardness is also a talent. That in itself is a talent. What also makes him special is the kind of person he is outside of the ring. He talks with everybody, he extends an open hand to everybody. He’s a very good person overall.”
“I saw Manny when he came to Chicago for the press tour before the De La Hoya fight. I ended up talking with him. He’s really a nice, gracious person. Even after that, I flew out to General Santos for his birthday party. He’s a nice person and a good guy. He’s just an all around nice guy. Genuinely nice, talking with the people. I never saw him high on himself. He acts the way a champion should be.”
“I think he can fight Floyd’s style better than Floyd can fight against his style. Floyd’s fought Judah, Mosely, Hatton, Oscar. Manny’s also fought the bigger, tougher guys. I think it will be harder for Mayweather to adapt to Manny’s style. I honestly feel he has the ability to fight and to beat Floyd. I’m going with Pac Man. I think he has the extra speed to beat Floyd.”
Pac’s Power? “To be honest, even though I got knocked out, he didn’t hit that hard. The left hand – I turned away and didn’t see it coming. And I was asleep for a couple of seconds.”
Emmanuel Lucero:

 “The first loss of my career was against Manny Pacquiao. I was confident I was gonna beat this guy. He looked so small. But look what comes and happened. I went over there, feel confidence. Get knocked out in the third round.”
“Oh, he got a tremendous left-right hand. Nobody could see that punch. I’m telling you – nobody could see that punch. I said before the Barrera fight, if Pacquiao caught Barrera with the left-right hand, Barrera’s gonna go down. And what happened? Caught him. I mean, Pacquiao hit hard. I’m telling you. He caught me. I went down, they stop the fight.”
“He’s a nice person. Beautiful. He says it was nice to fight with you. You a nice guy. Your name is like my name. We both born in November! That’s what he told me! Nice man. Normal guy. Very, very, very nice. I learned something about that.”

Jose Morales saw his son Erik lose twice to Pacquiao in 2006, via tenth round TKO in January and by third round KO in November. Morales did defeat Pac Man in March 2005 by close decision.

“I believe Manny Pacquiao is more aggressive. He’s very aggressive. He’s very sharp, throws many accurate punches and keeps the pressure on his opponents. He’s more aggressive than Mayweather. That’s why he will win. The punch of Manny Pacquiao can kill him very easily. It can put him down very easily. So Mayweather cannot handle that. I believe Manny Pacquiao will win the fight by the eighth round.”

Nacho Beristain has opposed Pacquiao with his champion Juan Manuel Marquez on four occasions, he also was in the corner of Oscar De La Hoya against Manny:
”I know very well Pacquiao. I’ve seen him fight many times. He’s very good. And everybody picks Mayweather to win the fight because he wins so much against easy fighters, but Pacquiao is just too tough, too strong….He just works too hard. His training is too hard. He works very hard.”
”I think he’s an extraordinary fighter. Out of the normal. And I believe that he’s not skilled like some of the greatest in boxing history, like Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Bernard Hopkins and Muhammad Ali. But actually right now he’s a big, big star in America, with the glory.”
Glen Tapia was a sparring partner for Pacquiao for the Margarito training camp in 20l0:
“When you spar Manny, it’s not like sparring a lefty or a righty. It’s like sparring both. He’s got a different style. He just throws punches and he turns you quickly. To fight somebody who’s so intense – it’s great working with him. To fight somebody who puts that pressure on you and keeps that intensity on you the whole time, you just have to stay calm. You have to stay normal and put some pressure on him.”

“When I have done well, it is me being me, just throwing punches the way I throw punches, hitting him with combinations. With my speed and power and just mixing it up with my foot movement, I put pressure on him and just keep up the intensity the whole time. You want to move on him while you’re throwing punches.”
“When Manny does well with me, it’s him doing the same things I do to him. Not only does he throw a lot of punches, he turns you and just works and works and works. You’ve got to be ready.”
“It’s just been getting more intense with every (sparring) match.”
“It’s like a slugfest in there.”
How did you do the first round of sparring with Manny?  “I actually got the best of him [smiles]. He even said it. We were in the interview room. He was being funny. All the reporters were interviewing me and he was like in the background jumping rope and saying, Tell em you whooped my butt! All the media was talking with me about it after the sparring.”
Tapia shared an anecdote which illustrates Pacquiao’s humility:  “I was in Pacquiao’s room at the camp, we were hanging out between sessions. I asked Manny, ‘So how does it feel to be the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world?’ He didn’t seem to understand the question, saying, ‘What?’ Then he laughed and then said that he doesn’t see himself as the best, he still sees himself as the underdog and that’s why he trains as hard as he does. This inspired me and motivated me for my career.”

About Scoop Malinowski

Author of six books including "Muhammad Ali: Portrait of a Champion" and "Heavyweight Armageddon: The Lewis versus Tyson Championship Battle" available at amazon