Manny Pacquaio: No Fire, Retire

By Michael Schmidt on November 29, 2012
Manny Pacquaio: No Fire, Retire
Boxing is what has of course brought Manny Pacquiao to this level. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

I wonder if Manny looks back to those days of being knocked out, where he literally had to be picked up off the canvas by a cornerman, arms hanging limp…

Manny Pacquiao’s fan base is so strong and so ardent that one feels compelled, prior to offering any critique, to set out that they are, as well, a huge fan. That fan base of course has been earned time and time again, in the toughest of sports, as has the fan base of the great Juan Manuel Marquez. As we await Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez number four one is left wondering what level Manny will perform at.


“It’s no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”—Lewis Carroll

Leading up to this fight Pacquiao has repeatedly spoken of going back to what he used to be in terms of a fighter. “For me I realize that I need to go back to the aggressiveness I had before when I was 25, 26 years old.” As a fighter Manny has come a long way, and a long way back it has been, fighter years, from that day, back in 1996, that he was knocked out cold by a single left hand courtesy of Rustico Torrecampo. “It’s over, it’s over, it’s over, one punch, his eyes are crossed…” yelled the announcers in repetitive fashion. Yet his career had hardly just begun.

The paradox of course, in talking about going back to what you once did or were, is in the mere fact that you are thinking and talking about yesteryear. How could it be back the same? Talking about what you used to be means you are not what you use to be. Make no mistake of that in terms of Champion Manny. The young lad with the dyed hair job and biker-like red flames flowing up the boxing trunks, with the Duran and Valero-like killer intent, is not the Manny we have watched the past few years.


“Without a sense of urgency desire loses its value.”—Jim Rohn

I wonder if Manny looks back to those days of being knocked out, where he literally had to be picked up off the canvas by a cornerman, arms hanging limp. Does he look back to that day that he had all he could handle, dropped by a jab, hurt badly and pounded relentlessly in round four, fighting Nedal Hussein? Does he look back, looking glass country to 1999, being chased from one post to the other, collapsing in the third round, in a prayer like position, and then squirming like a worm on hot black pavement, having being knocked out by a single body shot, literally coughing up his WBC crown to Medgoen Singsurat? 

If ever there was a time for Manny to look back at the man in the mirror now would possibly be it. Pacquiao has traveled a long way from the extreme poverty of Sarangani Province and a long way, in boxer years that he has traveled to present day.

The storyline now grows thin: the $700 daily Nat’s Restaurant patronage; the huge entourage from personal dog do walkers to personal car washers; the Dan Hill duets; the bible classes; the everybody getting a flaming meteor rock tattoo like Manny and Manny will pay you $1500; the alleged marriage distractions courtesy of actress Krista Ranillo; the lawyer, or wannabe cornerman, who Freddie Roach, in response of “bullshit” offers up his own ”he was a gym hand at Wild Card”; the strength and conditioning coach, who in a fit of repeated boxing 101 crime, consistently speaks over the Chief Second in the corner; Hall of Fame trainer Roach…On and on one could go. To an outsider looking in, and pardon the direct crudeness, but a “what the fuck” could most certainly be served up. It is a testament to the upper stratosphere level of Manny’s boxing skills that the Manny show all sticks together for there certainly does not appear to be any glue bonding the whole picture in place. One would not even know where to put the first, next or last dab of glue to the whole matter. Looking glass country it should be. Manny, from abject poverty, using boxing as a vessel towards his greater out of ring social initiatives, at least for the very moment, needs as Bob Arum has warned in the past, to decide if he is a boxer or politician.


“Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.”—John Wooden.

It will be over three years by the time he steps in the ring, shortly, against 39-year-old Champion Marquez, since Manny has put an opponent on the seat of their pants, stoppage style. That would be the Cotto fight of course and post-Cotto there have been varying performance excuses from leg cramps in two different fights, to out of ring family matters, to taking opponents too lightly. It is of course hard to imagine how one would possibly take a Tim Bradley or Marquez, he who has fought you tooth and nail to a dead draw over previous total rounds, too lightly. Way back when, in 1996, having been knocked out, Manny wanted to make amends to his fans for being overconfident. Sound familiar! For the upcoming fight Manny delayed coming to L.A. to train. Sound familiar!  It is unfortunate that the now 39-year-old Marquez had to wait back-to-back close to four year periods to get Manny back in the ring and having said that it is most certain that any excuses offered up this time by Manny and company will not be greeted kindly any more than the live crowd greeted the decision of the last fight.


“You know it’s just one small step from legacy to lame duck.”—Bill Clinton

For those of us fortunate to be ringside to watch the third fight, bird’s eye view so to speak, what we saw was an often out of position and off balance Manny getting whacked by solid counter shots while misfiring in response. Much like the ensuing Bradley fight there were lengthy time periods were Manny was not firing shots. Go back to a few rounds such as round five of the fight and watch them in slow motion and one can appreciate how hard it is to score rounds to a fighter who is fighting the last minute of the round only. There is a great deal of frenetic movement but not a great deal of punches landing solidly, if at all. Late in the fight Freddie Roach was suggesting to his charge that a charge indeed he did need in the form of a knockout. When the bell rang ending the fight Manny’s posture was that of a loser. When the decision was announced there was a resounding boxing chorus of boos from the crowd. The post-fight press conference had Champion Marquez staying well over 35 minutes, emotionally asking what he had to do to get a win and Manny showing up for a brief give or take 10 minutes, seemingly subdued. As far as I recall of that night and the day after, not many of the boxing scribes, if but one by way of a total, had Manny winning the fight.

As I watched Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless a few weeks back on ESPN’s First Take I was struck by Manny’s lack of “fire” by way or verbal response, or physical demeanor, to what was being said in his presence.

Smith to Marquez: “I believe you won. I’m sorry Pacquiao, I love you, but I believe he won the last fight.”  Manny, as he does, throughout the interview is smiling, giggling and pointing fingers in friendly jest.

Smith to Marquez: “If he (Manny) fights Floyd Mayweather, who wins?”

Marquez to Smith: “I think Mayweather.”

Smith to Pacquiao: “ I am going to tell you how you would lose to Mayweather…I believe you are too small…Mayweather I think he is a boxing technician…decision or dare I say get caught late…” More smiling, more giggles.

Smith to Pacquaio: “Why were you not—aggressive?”

Pacquiao to Smith: “That’s why I decided to train here in Hollywood, put in the whole training camp this time, make this fight, I want to give a good fight, to end the doubt to all the fans…”

One week later, give or take, and Manny was late for his “Hollywood” arrival to training camp. What is one to make of that or to Manny’s reaction to Smith’s questions and comments. Perhaps it is Manny’s personality but one could not envision a Duran, Frazier, or LaMotta type, in response to such a scenario, of doing anything less than getting up out of the chair and strongly implying that somebody was about to get belted in the schnozz if the interview continued on such a merry course.

The Manny Show is becoming a bad, tired rerun when the only rerun to the show needed at this stage is a fireworks knockout or strong and urgent attempt at same. The show up late for training story, the once again “this is the best training camp ever” chirp, the cute little dog training partner, the Dan Hill duets, the late night TV appearances are all nice but what we really want to see, sometimes when we touch, is somebody touching the canvas in a big way.

Everybody loves a winner, but in boxing today’s heroes often disappear from rapidly, Titanic-like, only to sometimes be rediscovered nostalgically, down the way, years later. As much as Manny may not think it or chooses not to think it, boxing is what has of course brought him to this level of recognition and wealth. Boxing is still in large part what defines him and a loss to Marquez at this stage will be a rude awakening. To what level this rude awakening would be is of course unknown but a rude awakening, legacy-wise, nonetheless. 

Our boxing heroes, our legends, have past and present shown quantitatively an ability to self-destruct. There is a long warrior trail of ruin that would have a Roman Emperor’s ghost no doubt winking in a conspiratorial “I told you so” thought. Champion Marquez, age 39, has nothing to lose in this fight for wherever down the road one rates Manny Pacquiao one must have Marquez close by. For this fight, having no further expectation than the performance of last fight past makes Marquez that much more the dangerous man than he already is. 

Manny Pacquiao has been, and is, as great an ambassador for boxing as possibly there has ever been. For all the years and battles he has engaged in this fight may be the biggest career-wise for Pacquiao. Win or lose Manny Pacquiao, looking glass country, is right. It is time to show the old fire, and if not, he should retire!! Whether Manny wins or loses is an entirely different matter and there is nothing to separate either of these warriors, in consideration of the previous three fights, that suggests that anybody should offer up an opinion leaning one way or the other.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Pacquiao Vs Marquez 4 (2012) - The End Is Near (Trailer)

1996-02-09 Pacquiao vs Rustico Torrecampo

HBO PPV: Pacquiao-Marquez 4 - Look Back at 1st Fight

Manny Pacquiao vs. Medgoen Singsurat 1999


Pacquiao vs Nedal Hussein 1/3

Pacquiao vs Nedal Hussein 2/3

Pacquiao vs Nedal Hussein 3/3

24/7 Pacquiao vs. Marquez 4 - Episode 1 (Full Episode)

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  1. MIKE SCHMIDT 04:16am, 12/04/2012

    Side Note—Sugar Ray Leonard comment this week that this is THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT FOR BOTH FIGHTERS—IT’S LEGACY TIME!!!!!!!

  2. Stewart m 02:38pm, 12/02/2012

    Jmm knock down 1st the world fist before you say you win the fight

  3. Foxy 08:50am, 12/01/2012

    Hey Michael Schmidt,

    Mayweather is and has always been afraid of Manny. Reason? He knows Manny can and will kick his butt should they ever meet! The fear? Mayweather doesn’t want to be knocked out and Manny is the man to do the job. We ought to call Mayweather “Ducky” for ducking a fight with Manny for years or maybe “the paper tiger” because he talks a lot of bull but never rises to the occasion. Motor Mouth Mayweather, fighter of “has beens”!

  4. Jon 08:47am, 12/01/2012

    The writer is looking for a fire in “verbal response” from Manny in English? WTF!?

    Many times during post fight interviews, you can see Manny struggling to articulate his thoughts in English.

    If Manny can only speak in his native language during post fight interview, you won’t just get a verbal response but “verbal abuse.”

    That’s why Manny can’t respond to Mayweather’s trash talking. It’s not his native language.

  5. Mike Schmidt 02:46am, 12/01/2012

    No rap and no hide behind the logo “Foxy”—and no King’s speech so I will keep it straight as an arrow—I think Mayweather beats Manny hands down right now—as for Bradley I don’t recall in my aritcle saying I had Bradley the winner but rather that Manny did not look dominating by any means—adios and with all due respect “Foxy” keep the posts coming.

  6. Foxy 11:08pm, 11/30/2012

    I think Michael Schmidt shoud learn to speak the Kings language so we know what the heck he is talking about. Like maybe drop the Rap Trash Talk! Manny at this point is the best. Bradley was a insider fix!

  7. Mike Schmidt 07:20pm, 11/28/2012

    Actually I am a fan of both Pac and JMM—shame one guy has to lose—UNLESS it ends in a draw, which many scored the last one.

  8. Frank Cerna 05:37pm, 11/28/2012

    As a Pacman fan, I cannot blame this writer if he doesn’t like Manny. I am sure he doesn’t like Manny but likes Manny’s Money. This guy is blinded by his hatred because Manny never give a damn on what he’s written. This kind of journalist comes a dime a dozen. He’s a shame to the profession.

  9. kaloy 04:00pm, 11/28/2012

    Torrecampo’s punch is a LOW BLOW!

  10. recah trinidad 01:31pm, 11/28/2012

    great watch, more, more. pls email this to me. congrats sir

  11. Mike Schmidt 11:31am, 11/28/2012

    The Thresher has Manny at number seven all time Welterweights—interesting—get your votes—go see who Thresh has close by!!!!!

  12. Mike Schmidt 04:45am, 11/28/2012

    Boxmeister—interesting post—we shall see we shall see. Latest in—Freddie making reference to JMM ped use—now that is not very sportsman like of Freddie is it???????? As a side note—as much as I as well Boxmeister have enjoyed watching Manny box I do not have him in a top ten all time pound for pound great—I think a prime Leonard would have stretched him out—and given his performance against the aged Mosley I think the likes of Benitez and Jose Napoles would have boxed his ears off.

  13. Mario Cruz 03:12am, 11/28/2012

    Wow, what a long article with accompanying videos at that!  Anyways, it means nothing to us Pacfans.

  14. janex 12:43am, 11/28/2012

    This writer is in drugs…. Mr. Manny Pacquiao is the only person in the universe to have the 8th DIVISION WORLD TITLE…marquez - ? (sorry) most of his opponents are tricycle driver, mayweather - ? (sorry) most of his opponents are taxi driver, MANNY most of his opponents are pilot

  15. jun separa 12:40am, 11/28/2012

    this writer is blinded by his hatred to an asian boxer named manny pacquiao, he uses the old to justify a present, he should have write an article that tells about a fraud negro boxer who uses PED’s excuses and found himself accused of using PED’s, thanks to USADA he can be free and can use whatever amount of power pellets, nowonder he keeps on winning all those 43 wins, he never lost, thanks to steroids and USADA

  16. Editha P 09:45pm, 11/27/2012

    garbage article pac is the greatest boxer who ever lived

  17. hammerhead 08:00pm, 11/27/2012

    this man is a hater of pacman! look dude what you’re up to? posting videos of the 8 division world champ to discredit him of all his accomplishment? whatever you do my friend, many pacquiao is manny pacquiao regardless of all the ups and down in his career. you can not erase that in history of boxing. it’s only clear that you just wanted to destroy PACMAN’s reputation. i know you are just a sour loser, a whiner or probably a paid blogger of JMM or Mayweather. your article is a trash. does’nt even worth a single cent.. just plant sweet potato dude!

  18. boxmeister 07:35pm, 11/27/2012

    Everyone who achieved what Pacquiao did will eventually reach its threshold.  What goes up must come down.  The hype is over and done.  Pacquiao must realize that time is brutal as the sport he chose for a career and that he has limitations to everything.  The bread and butter in boxing is getting stale and in the last few fights, we can see that Pacquiao is waning, distractions after another, lack of focus, animosities with Ariza prior to the fight,  His promise to become better can be just delusional..He has to, so people would still want to see his fights. As much as I respect his boxing skills, I really do not see him as promising in other fields of occupation. His being elected as Congressman was carried by his popularity and wealth and nothing else. I would be really surprised if he beats Marquez handily this time around.

  19. mike schmidt 01:58pm, 11/27/2012

    Come come now Fearless Editor—I object, object,object. I would never ever label Manny as Bambi—I think I did sing that out to David “I gotta toehold” Haye after his effort against Dr Steelhammer. I would say this though—all my Pinoy friends might be reacting like most did at the end of Old Yellar—lots of crying on that one—and a special note out to “Big Dockyard” Bruce down at the shipyard-THAT’S OLD YELLAR THE MOVIE, I am not calling your fav fighter Manny “Yellar” as you old Newfoundlanders say—or “Yellow” for that matter so lay off the rib shots next we meet big man!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Robert Ecksel 01:23pm, 11/27/2012

    Andrew—If Schmidty had called Manny Bambi in the above piece, which thank God he didn’t (but with Schmidt you never can tell), I’d have dug out a clip from the Disney film, even though that part where Bambi can’t find his mom is enough to bring even the most hardhearted men to tears.

  21. Mike Schmidt 10:38am, 11/27/2012

    Thanks Andrew—as a note I can tell you I do not pick the videos—that is left to our fearless Editor—but I gotta tell you, at the risk of being smacked in the back of the head by, as my good friend Al Bernstein describes her, “the lovely Suzanna”—my wife—and at the risk of our fearless Editor once again shaking his head at “old Schmidty”—hell I will watch two good looking gals kissing anytime!!!!!! I fully agree that the old KO fights are not indicative of what type of fighter Manny is now—but we hope he sometimes looks back at those to recall that unless totally focused in this tough boxing business ANYBODY CAN GET DROPPED—IE BUSTER DOUGLAS AND BIG BAD MIKE TYSON. IE Lennox vs the Rockman—It is for that reason that I wrote this article-I love the guy as the firebrand fighter he used to be-I think his skill set is sooooo high that he has not had to go balls to the walls in some of these recent fights and that you cannot do with a guy like JMM and hope to emphatically win.

  22. Robert Ecksel 10:11am, 11/27/2012

    In their third fight I had Pacquiao coming from behind to eke out a draw.

  23. andrew 10:00am, 11/27/2012

    i watched it,i liked it,a real turn on,btw who is she?

  24. andrew 09:54am, 11/27/2012

    i agree with u there,i think he should use what he’s learned over the years to defeat jmm rather than use his old style,after all he is not that fighter anymore,and he had better adapt.i liked the article ,don’t get me wrong,but his early losses have little meaning,and the bi-sexual video seems rather cheap,although to be honest ,i never watched it,i will ,to be fair.

  25. Mike Schmidt 09:46am, 11/27/2012

    A story unto a story unto a story Mr Thresher—superb—should be its own stand alone—As an aside Fearless Editor—I just received a call from a close friend (a huge Manny fan) that wants my balls on the walls and ALSO wants to know how I scored the Marquez 111 fight-you were there Mr Editor, with me, how did you score it up personal. I like many of the scribes that night had it Marquez 7-4-1, fighting a great precision punching fight and landing solid solid shots—adios.

  26. the thresher 09:27am, 11/27/2012

    The Sad Tale of Rustico Torrecampo

    Oh my God, it’s over, it’s over, oh my God. It’s over. His eyes are crossed. Oh my Gosh.—TV Announcer

    When he went down, I knew he wouldn’t get up. The referee could’ve counted to 100 and he wouldn’t have been able to recover. I prepared for him. I knew after throwing a jab, he would follow up with a straight or an uppercut. I waited for him to jab, then I countered.
    —Rustico Torrecampo

    This relatively unknown Filipino light flyweight fought from 1993-1997 and finished with an unremarkable 14-8-5 mark, though 5 draws in 27 fights is a bit unusual. He was 1-4-1 in his last six outings with his sole win (and arguably his career second best) coming against solid Noel Tunacao (28-4-2 at the time). But it was on February 9, 1996 in Mandaluyong City, Manila, where he would win his biggest fight, though he would not know it at the time. His opponent, 11-0 and being touted as a comer, failed to make weight and according to reliable sources was—as a penalty for weighing over the limit, and to ostensibly level the playing field—mandated to wear eight-ounce gloves, compared to Torrecampo’s six-ouncers. 

    During the fight, Rustico controlled the action through the first two rounds against his poorly prepared and overconfident foe and then stepped things up in the third. As both parried, Torrecampo nailed a perfectly timed hook to the body of his heavier opponent who starting to come in. Many claim it was a head shot that ended up striking the body as well, others say it was, others say it was a fully torqued, incoming shot to the right side of the body, and a few contend it was a low blow. After maybe 200 reviews of the video, I am still not certain, but it did appear to be a head shot, though a case can be made for each argument. At any rate, head, body, or low, it was academic, because the Kibawe native who was struck went down in a heap and was not only counted out but the referee had to pick up his body like he was picking up a rag doll.  Torrecampo’s opponent no longer was undefeated, though to his great credit and determination, he shook off the loss as a learning experience and immediately launched a streak of 15 wins, 13 ending by stoppage.

    As for Torrecampo, he failed to capitalize on the upset victory. A month after winning another fight, this one against Ricky Sales, he suffered a wrist injury for which he inexplicitly failed to get medical treatment. The memory of his boxing career is immortalized by the grisly sight of a small bone sticking out of his left wrist, the ugly result of that fracture not healing properly.

    More recently (and after his retirement from the ring), he was involved in a vehicular dispute in Tondo that, after a heated argument, resulted in a killing. As a result, Rustico remains a fugitive from the law. Yet, wherever he is, he will forever be able to tell his children and grandchildren that, “I knocked out one of the greatest featherweights to ever step into the ring.”

    The featherweight’s name was Manny Pacquiao.

  27. the thresher 09:18am, 11/27/2012

    A part of 3-K Battery’s legacy that will always be front and center occurred in 1999 when he met a weight-drained Manny Pacquiao (26-1 at the time). On the line was the WBC Flyweight Title.  “3-K,” coming in at 18-0, drove the emaciated Pac Man to the ropes in the 3rd round and then unloaded a straight right to the left side of his body that folded Manny like a tent. Just three months later, Pacquiao moved to a more comfortable 122 pounds, or nine ponds more that when he fought “3-K.” Weight-wise, Manny would never looked back. Starting with a 2-round blowout of Reynante Jamili (41-5 coming in), he went 13-0-2 with all of his wins coming by stoppage. Among his victims were Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera, Thai Fahsan 3K Battery, South African Lehlohonolo “Hands of Stone” Ledwaba, undefeated South Korean Seung-Kon Chae, and Colombian Jorge Eliecer “El Reten” Julio. Pacquiao’s destructions were of the equal opportunity type.

  28. the thresher 09:14am, 11/27/2012

    There were reasons for both of Manny’s early losses. There were stories behind the stories. More later. Interesting piece indeed.

  29. Mike Schmidt 08:22am, 11/27/2012

    As a fighter I HAVE loved him. Personally, I do not know him personally and in that sense whether I “like him” or not does not really matter. Where is it all going is exactly the point- it’s LEGACY TIME—He needs to show BIG on JMM—his recent fights and most certainly Mosley and Clottey—boring—the promotional lead up to the fights has been of course Top Rank superb—Pac has not been fighter of the year since 2009 and has, to the best of my knowledge never been engaged in a Ring Mag or BWAA fight of the year. This is the entertainment business after all—Where is all this going—I want to be entertained by a full throttle effort—not what we saw in the Bradley and Mosley type fights—taking half the round off—if the other guy does not want to engage—time to go after it—obviously the strategy in Marquez did not work well and he certainly did not overwhelm Bradley, he of the two bust up ankles early.

  30. andrew 08:11am, 11/27/2012

    you don’t like him much do you, what a bizarre attack! what does this article mean? where are u going with it? it starts out ok, then turns spiteful and spews bile.

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