Boxing


Pacquiao Impressive In Destruction of Morales

19.11.06 - By Geoffrey Ciani: Manny Pacquiao easily destroyed Erik Morales in their highly anticipated rubber match this past Saturday night. It was a tremendous win for Pacquiao. That anyone could be capable of clobbering a fighter of Morales’s caliber with such ease is absolutely amazing. After all, Morales has been one of boxing’s elite for the better part of the last ten years, and against Pacquiao, he was reduced to nothing more than a helpless victim. Indeed, from the opening bell, it became apparent that he didn’t stand a chance against the hungry young fighter from the Philippines..

manny pacquiaoBoxing can be a strange sport sometimes. In the case of Pacquiao and Morales, we have two fighters who have squared off three times in the past twenty months. The outcomes of these three encounters were all vastly different, but now that this trilogy has concluded an obvious picture has been drawn.

We’ve just witnessed the decline of one great warrior and the emergence of another. In fact, this trilogy perfectly illustrates a figurative passing of the torch.

In their first encounter, Morales was able to box his way to victory. His superior skills and experience enabled him overcome Pacquiao’s swarming style. For his part, Pacquiao certainly had his moments, but in the end, he fought a bit too one-dimensionally to overcome what Morales brought to the table. In a sense, Morales may have taught Pacquiao a valuable lesson that night, and Pacquiao has improved tremendously in the months since.

Pacquiao is no longer the fierce puncher who relies exclusively on his left cross and relentless stamina. As if he wasn’t already dangerous enough, it’s now apparent that his right hand has become a key part of his arsenal. Pacquiao now carries amazing power in both hands, helping to amplify an already stellar swarming style. Thusly, his combination punching has improved, he’s become even more aggressive, and is now a more confident fighter. In light of that, it’s apparent that Pacquiao’s trilogy with Morales has proven invaluable; he’s come out of it even more dangerous than he’d already been.

Morales is no longer the elite fighter he once was. In fact, everything about him seemed off on Saturday night. While there’s no doubt that had something to do with Pacquiao, the things that once made Morales great seemed to be grossly lacking. He appeared considerably slower, had no bounce in his step, and had absolutely no fluidity about him. Even worse, he had no pop in his punches. All of the epic wars Morales has had over the years have taken their toll. All that remained was his heart and his courage, but this time, that just wasn’t enough.

With victory, Pacquiao has firmly established himself as one of the greatest talents in the sport. In fact, a strong argument can be made that Pacquiao is the best fighter pound-for-pound in all of boxing. Perhaps more importantly, Pacquiao seems to still be improving—a frightening prospect for any potential opponent. With his unique combination of freakish power, relentless stamina, and unrivaled determination, Pacquiao will pose major problems for any potential foe.

So what’s next for these two great warriors?

For Pacquiao, it seems the logical next step would be the long-awaited rematch with Marco Antonio Barrera. Since losing to Pacquiao three years ago, Barrera has re-established himself as a premiere fighter, proving critics wrong who had written him off after that bout. A rematch between the two is seemingly inevitable so long as Barrera wants the fight. After Pacquiao’s utter destruction of Morales, it would be understandable if Barrera had reservations, especially considering the result of his first bout with the beast known as Pacquiao.

Barrera is a very smart fighter who undoubtedly realizes that he cannot stand toe-to-toe with a ferocious warrior like Pacquiao. To beat Pacquiao, Barrera needs to devise a plan that relies on boxing and, more importantly, defense. With Pacquiao’s aggressive style and high work rate, this will prove to be a most difficult task. The fact is now Pacquiao is better than when these two first met. Is this a fight that Barrera wants to take at this stage in his career? I certainly have my doubts.

Although I’d never count Barrera out of any fight, I’m hard-pressed to see how he’d keep Pacquiao away for a full twelve rounds—a most daunting task if ever there was one. If the Barrera fight doesn’t come to fruition, a possible showdown with undefeated WBO champion Joan Guzman might be a good route for Pacquiao.

For Morales, I think it’s the end of the line. He’s had a tremendous career that provided fans with many entertaining fights. He was a true warrior who represented everything that was good in a sport that’s often plagued by corruption. It is my sincere hope that he will retire and enjoy life. He has nothing else to prove.


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geoff@eatthemushroom.com


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Article posted on 19.11.2006



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