Manny Pacquiao on Mayweather, Trump and the world's most famous shoulder

时间:2019-11-16 责任编辑:党撞鬲 来源:正规十大赌博网站排名 点击:72 次

The who entered the congested dressing room on Thursday morning at Madison Square Garden, smartly clad in a glen plaid suit and Louis Vuitton sunglasses, with a pair of iPhones in hand, might have seemed an imposter a decade ago. The much improved English, polished look and improbable punctuality would have been unrecognizable from the unkempt bantamweight who turned up at Hollywood’s Wild Card Boxing Club in search of a trainer back in 2001, a free-swinging, free-spirited southpaw no one could imagine would soon become the face of the sport.

To his right was longtime trainer Freddie Roach, the straight-talking boxing lifer on whose doorstep Pacquiao serendipitously landed all those years ago. Their rapport frequently resembles a buddy film after 15 years together – “Longer than most marriages,” Roach quipped – a partnership that rates with Ali-Dundee, Louis-Blackburn and Frazier-Futch among prizefighting’s most storied trainer-fighter tandems.

Pacquiao, the two-term congressman from Sarangani province, was here to formally announce his forthcoming rubber match with Timothy Bradley on 9 April at the MGM Grand, a fight that’s been received with a collective yawn in the weeks despite Pacquiao’s insistence it will be his final professional bout. Bradley is one of the finest of his generation, a probable Hall of Famer and genuinely good person who gets a fraction of the appreciation he deserves. But the consensus is there’s nothing left to decide between the pair, Pacquiao having convincingly after a in the first.

The 37-year-old insists he’s not walking away because he can no longer compete, but because of the forthcoming senatorial election on 9 May in his native , an office he’s expected to win that will consume far more time than his current duties as a congressman. From there it is believed that Pacquiao, long driven by a quasi-messianic desire to stamp out the very poverty that spat him out, could make a serious run for the presidency in 2022. The guaranteed $20m purse he’s due for April’s fight will no doubt boost his war chest.

On Thursday he was introspective about his accomplishments, taking measure of a career that’s included titles in a record-breaking eight different weight classes while becoming a transcendent figure the world over, cracking the mainstream like no other Asian-born athlete in history and becoming the most socially important boxer since Muhammad Ali.

“Before when I was young I didn’t really know boxing, what is boxing,” he said. “I got into boxing to help my mother and to help my family. Now the funny thing is I end my boxing career because I want to help the countrymen, my fellow countrymen.”

Pacquiao was at ease as he issued assessments on topics from professional basketball (favorite players: Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Derrick Rose) to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump (a “friendly guy” who “speaks not like a politician, he’s direct, to the point”). Yet as secure as his sense of purpose does seem as he readies to life after boxing, a persisting sense of unfinished business from his clearly tugs at both fighter and trainer. It didn’t take long for Thursday’s conversation to pivot in that direction.

During the first three rounds Pacquiao struggled to negotiate his way inside the accurate, punishing right hand of Mayweather, who made full use of his five-inch reach advantage. But midway through the fourth, Pacquiao connected with a straight left that snapped his Mayweather’s head back, one of the rare moments the American has appeared vulnerable in his career. Instinctively, he went in for the kill, pouring on rapid-fire combinations into Mayweather’s turtle-shell defense.

That’s when he felt it, Pacquiao described on Thursday, snapping his fingers for emphasis.

“When I backed off,” he recalled, “I felt like I lost my right hand.”

The shoulder injury, which he says was initially suffered in a jet ski accident in 2009, had been a non-issue throughout training. Five days later Pacquiao underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff by Dr Neal ElAttrache, whose patients have included Tom Brady and Kobe Bryant. This week ElAttrache gave him a clean bill of health, which Pacquiao’s longtime advisor Michael Koncz said was one of the prerequisite requirements for licensing by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

On Thursday, Roach made it clear that if Pacquiao wins convincingly against Bradley, a push should be made to make a rematch with Mayweather.

“That fight really bothers me,” Roach said. “I haven’t even watched it again because I’m so pissed off about the first one, because I thought Manny could have made that fight much easier than he did. Manny thought he won the fight anyway, but I think he could have done a lot more. When he came back after the fourth round and he said my shoulder’s shot, I said do the best you can. He still thinks he won the fight but I don’t.

“It was a big event, but it didn’t turn out to be a big fight. I know Manny can do a lot better than he did and make it a much more exciting fight. I’m not going to blame the arm completely because in the dressing room it wasn’t a problem at all.”

Pacquiao said on Thursday that he’s watched the fight several times and scores it seven rounds to five in his favor, believing his role as the aggressor should have carried more weight from the ringside arbiters. “I’m throwing a lot of punches, he threw a few punches,” he said. “I respect the decision of the judges. That’s boxing. But if you ask me inside my heart, I believe I won.”

Four months into his rehabilitation, Pacquiao said he decided this would be the last fight of a career that’s spanned 419 rounds since he turned pro as a 106-pounder in 1995. A list of six prospective opponents was settled on: Mayweather, Bradley, Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner, Amir Khan and Juan Manuel Marquez. He said Mayweather was the preferred choice, but was ruled out after he announced his own retirement following a .

Roach, when asked privately on Thursday, said he “would not be surprised” to see either Pacquiao or Mayweather fight past their self-proclaimed retirements.

“The way they both spend money, maybe they will fight again,” he said. “Manny is running for senator and that’s going to cost him a lot of money. That’s how votes go in his country: you pay for votes.”

He added: “You get really addicted to the sport, and it’s very hard to retire. It’s very hard to realize that you’re all done. I remember when it happened to me. It should have happened a little earlier. It’s a very addictive sport.”

For now a desperately hungry Bradley, who teamed with trainer Teddy Atlas last year, is the focus. A seven-week training camp will convene on 2 February for three weeks in the Philippines before relocating to the Wild Card for the final month. Among the sparring partners handpicked by Pacquiao is Frankie Gomez, a Roach prospect he’s tabbed as a future world champion.

“When he picks someone like that,” Roach said. “[I know] he still wants his sparring partners to be real fighters and not washed up guys that he can just beat up.

“When I see him in the gym he still has that work ethic. He works really hard. He still has it. He’s asked me in the past many times, ‘When I’m shot will you tell me?’ and I tell him I’ll be the first one to tell you. ‘Will you retire when I tell you?’ and he says, ‘Of course I will.’ But he’s not shot yet.”

  • This article was changed on Friday January 22 to correct the name of Pacquiao’s sparring partner. He is Frankie Gomez, not Freddie.