Manny Pacquiao's Great, But How Would He Have Faired Against Thomas Hearns!?
by James Slater - Talk about one helluva Dream Fight: Manny Pacquiao Vs. Thomas Hearns - "The Hitman" against "Pac-Man!"
Article posted on 23.03.2010
There is little doubt Filipino southpaw and genuine boxing superstar Pacquiao is a fighter who has earned himself a place among the all time greats of the sport. From flyweight up to welterweight, the 31-year-old has dominated and won a major belt and, incredibly, it is while operating as a welterweight that Pac-Man has appeared to be getting even better. Taking care of top names Oscar De La Hoya (albeit a weight drained version), Miguel Cotto and, most recently, the much bigger Joshua Clottey, Pacquiao has more than proven his worth as a 147-pounder. However, what would have happened had the current pound-for-pound king been forced to face a peak Thomas Hearns at the weight he now fights at?
Hearns, who really was a freak of nature at the weight, both in terms of height (6'1") and in punching power, was an utterly devastating fighting machine back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Literally standing his fellow welterweights on their heads in those glory years - with top men/ respectable fighters such as Pipino Cuevas, Randy Shields, Harold Weston and Luis Primera all being stopped - Hearns earned himself a reputation as a fierce customer.
Taking Pacquiao back in time to face this Tommy Hearns, the southpaw dynamo has one tough night's work ahead of him!
First of all, Manny quickly finds out he has an incredibly arduous time coping with the 78" reach Hearns possesses. Having a wingspan of just 67" himself, the 5'6.5" Pacquiao is facing a fighter with measurements like no-one he's met before. Pac's southpaw stance - a stance Hearns has never had much experience against his whole career thus far - allows him to trouble Hearns and work his way inside, though, and Pacquiao is able to get in close and go to work. Tommy's never all that reliable chin looks like it may let him down against the lethal and blurring hands of his rival at times, but despite wobbling, Hearns stays upright.
"The Hitman," no slouch at the inside fighting himself, gets his own body punches to work and his body assault more than rivals Pacquiao's. Hearns hasn't yet learnt how to properly tie up an opponent, though, so Manny is certainly getting in and doing some damage. But enough to get the stoppage?
The fierce battle rages while the two men are warring on the inside, but after a while the action is broken up and the distance between the two fighters again favours Hearns and his spearing left jab; to say nothing of the right cross flying at the smaller man - a right cross that has both crunching power and great accuracy. At the point of the 5th-round, Pacquiao's face is beginning to mark up, especially around the eyes.
Popping Manny's face with combinations at times, being dragged into an inside battle at others, Hearns is both giving and taking shots; but he is mostly doing the former. Pacquiao has great heart, but even he is unable to take too many of Hearns' bombs. Letting the heat of battle go to his gladiatorial head, Pac-Man then engages in one too many brutal exchanges and he pays the price.
In the 8th-round, a "Hitman" right hand buckles Pacquiao's knees, inviting the Detroit man to go for the finish. A desperate and buzzed Pacquiao slings haymakers of his own in an attempt to stay in the fight, and his blend of speed, guts and power sees to it that the already awestruck fans get to see some mesmerising action, but after a few sensational seconds Hearns connects with another huge right hand, putting Manny down.
Pac-Man beats the count, just, but Hearns refuses to let him off the hook. Always a great finisher, Hearns unleashes more hell with both hands and forces the referee to dive in and save Pacquiao from further punishment. Hearns gets the TKO, with Manny still on his feet, in the 8th-round of a fight that elevates both men!
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