Pacquiao Pummels Morales

22.01.06 - By Geoffrey Ciani: This wasn’t the first time I incorrectly predicted the outcome of a boxing match, and surely it won’t be the last. I, for one, never understood the reasoning and the hype behind the Morales-Pacquiao rematch. After all, the first fight was a decisive victory for El Terrible, and I didn’t really see how Pacman could do anything differently to reverse the outcome of their first encounter. However, I was wrong – and now I guess I understand why so many boxing fans were so intrigued by prospects of this rematch.

Since their first encounter only ten months ago, a lot has happened. For Morales, he suffered the first loss of his career to someone not named Marco Antonio Barrera, as he was soundly defeated by Zahir Raheem in Morales’s debut bout at 135; for Pacquiao, he discovered that he has a right hand in addition to his left.

Of course, both of these things occurred the same night in September of last year, when Morales and Pacquiao appeared on the same card in order to hype up their rematch. Problem was, Morales lost his ‘tune-up’ bout. But, this is boxing, and money talks, so despite this seemingly insurmountable setback, the powers that be decided to go ahead with this bout, anyway.

My feeling going into the rematch was that Raheem posed a bad style match-up for El Terrible, and that Morales probably had no business fighting at 135. Indeed, I didn’t believe Morales’s recent loss would have any bearing on his fight with Pacman due to the fact Morales had so few problems in their first encounter. Likewise, I felt that Pacman’s discovery of the fist at the end of his right arm wouldn’t play much of a factor against a skilled warrior like Morales.

In the beginning of the fight, this all seemed to prove true, with Morales winning four of the first five rounds, having only lost the second round when Pacquiao unleashed a slew of vicious lefts that found their mark. Things changed in the sixth round, when Pacquiao once again began battering Morales – this represented a shift in momentum in Pacman’s favor. It became clear to me at this point in the fight that Morales’s legs were shot – he just didn’t seem to have much steam left in him, and it appeared that it was only a matter of time before he succumbed to Pacquiao’s relentless pressure.

Indeed, Pacquiao went on to win the 7th round, I had Morales barely squeaking out the 8th, and Pacman was again in control by the 9th. Then came the 10th round, where Morales was dropped twice by a wicked barrage of punches, which prompted the referee to stop the fight. Indeed, Pacquiao ended things with an exclamation point; there was no doubt about who the winner of this bout was. Pacquiao had avenged his loss in brutal fashion, and few things in boxing are more satisfying than reversing the outcome of a fight with a sensational knockout!

So, what did Pacquiao do differently this time around? Did throwing more right hands help lead him to victory? Was it his better ring generalship and footwork that caused him to be less ‘clumsy’ in the ring than he had been in March of last year? Was it the fact that his money punch landed more frequently? Or was it something else entirely?

I don’t want to take anything away from Pacquiao, but it appeared to me he didn’t do much of anything differently than he had the first time around. Indeed, as I watched this fight unfold, it appeared to me that we were witnessing El Terrible age before our very eyes. The old saying that “a fighter can get old overnight” never had a more profound meaning to me than it did this night, for Morales – a warrior with unquestionable heart & determination had absolutely no steam in his foundation; his legs were clearly shot.

Again, this is not meant to take anything away from the sensational performance by Manny Pacquiao, but this wasn’t the same Morales who fought him just ten short months ago. Morales proved he was the superior boxer early in the fight, by taking four of the first five rounds; unfortunately for El Terrible, he no longer has the legs for this sport. Having now lost three of his last four fights, this fact is abundantly clear. In fact, I reckon it’s time for him to hang up the gloves and call it career. And what a career it was!

What’s next for Pacquiao? Well, the logical next fight for him would be against Morales’s nemesis, Marco Antonio Barrera – someone who Pacman already holds a victory over. That’s the fight I most want to see right now – in any division. In fact, I don’t think there’s a bigger or better potential fight anywhere on the horizon. And luckily for us fans, Barrera’s shrewd promotional company, Golden Boy Productions, is already rumoured to have made an offer to Pacquiao to fight Barrera on March 25 of this year. It’s possible that this would be too soon to expect Pacquiao to be ready after last night’s encounter; but regardless, this fight needs to be made, and it needs to be made soon.

Boxing needs Barrera vs. Pacquiao. Bring it on!

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Article posted on 23.01.2006

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