BEGINNING THE END: Pacquiao should’ve seen it coming, not in the ring, but in politics.

By Enzo Regondola

Manny Pacquiao throws a punch that misses its target. His opponent, seeing a window, counters with a right hook that lands flush in the middle of Pacquiao’s face.

With that one punch, the seemingly invincible king of boxing suddenly became vulnerable.

In a result as rare as a fourth fight against the same man, Juan Manuel Marquez knocked Manny Pacquiao out cold on Round 6 of their bout last December 9, 2012. Ironically, Pacquiao was winning the fight based on the judges’ scorecards.

It was a disappointing ending to the celebrated quadrilogy. It was an even more disappointing ending to a winless 2012 for Pacquiao.

Some say the Pacman should retire. Some say this is the beginning of the end for Manny. Is it really?

Pacquiao has been a professional boxer since 1995. Before 2012, he has not had a winless year. (see Sidebar 1). Granted, his loss against Timothy Bradley in June 2012 was a very controversial one. Only the judges scored a win for Bradley, while the rest of the world called it for Pacquiao.

In the boxing world, there is a saying “Never leave it up to the judges.” That’s exactly what Pacquiao has done in his past five fights dating back to 2010, starting with his anti-climactic fight against Joshua Clottey.

The Clottey fight happened March 13, 2010. It was the same year that Pacquiao ran for Congress and won a seat. March 13 of that year was smack in the middle of the campaign period. Though Pacquiao won via a lopsided unanimous decision, his election-distracted bout with Clottey set a precedent for his next fights.

He fought the larger Antonio Margarito to another unanimous decision win, upping his weight category in November 2010. He defeated the veteran Shane Mosley in May of 2011, also via unanimous decision.

Then came the yet again controversial Pacquiao-Marquez III (as Pacquiao-Marquez I and II were), where Pacquiao won via majority decision, which was questioned by several analysts and fans.

From November 2003, when he fought Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera to November 2009 when he faced Miguel Cotto, a 15-fight stretch, he lost once (Erik Morales) and drew once (Marquez). He won eight of the 13 other bouts by KO or TKO (see Sidebar 2).

This killer instinct that made Manny Pacquiao a worldwide sensation has been missing since 2010. In his fight against Antonio Margarito, the Mexican’s eyes swelled shut. Post-fight, Pacquiao said, “I feel pity for my opponent. Look at his eyes and his bloody face.”

He’s been playing the nice guy role since 2010 – since he became Congressman. Since then, he has always gone the full 12 rounds, except for his latest. And since then he has been involved in two controversial endings with Bradley and Marquez (in their 3rd encounter).

His knockout loss to Marquez isn’t the beginning of the end. His end began in 2010, when he chose to be a politician. What the Filipino nation has been seeing from Pacquiao these past three years has been the end of “The People’s Champ”; being floored by Marquez was just a sad sideshow.


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