Rise of the Pacquiao Phoenix

By Michael Schmidt on November 5, 2013
Rise of the Pacquiao Phoenix
He’s not the same this Manny Pacquiao, not the same at all! (Robert Beck/Getty Images)

A long time ago there were allegations of a barroom brawl, set aside by Manny simply stating it was nothing more than a broken beer bottle…

“My strength is made perfect in weakness.”—Corinthians

About Time, A Bout Time

It will be here in less than month, this Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao vs. “Bam Bam” Rios bout. Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, who will be thirty-five this December, is closing in on his nineteenth year of professional boxing. Is it really five years past that the Pinoy pugilist pounded, pillar to post, into ring retirement, Champion Oscar De La Hoya, who the previous year had lost a very questionable split decision to Floyd Mayweather! 

It does seem long ago, this De La Hoya bout, but then in a moment of boxing life five years is a long time unless the boxers name is Manny, in which case boxing is but a moment of life. Boxing moments have never encapsulated or all encompassed Manny Pacquiao’s life and this will serve him well in what most certainly is a must win fight!

Roach Wrong but Ready

I’m sorry Mr. Roach but Manny does not remotely resemble the Manny Pacquiao of yesteryear.

I recall ten years ago picking up the phone to call my brother after the first round of Manny’s first fight with the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera. “Turn on the fight Steve!” I hadn’t seen intensity like that since Duran (nor have I seen such intensity otherwise short of the late Edwin Valero). Round two of the Barrera fight concluded with a bombardment of Manny punches, body and head, to the count of one hundred and most of them were well placed power shots coupled with same time speed. It was a rare combination of power and speed exhibited. In round six Pacquiao was thumping hard shots to the body which could clearly be heard over the TV audio. In round eleven Pacquiao, by way of referee stoppage, finished Barrera on the ropes. When he had Barrera hurt, and on the ropes, there was no let up in the pounding he was providing. He had immense “killer instinct”; not the same this Manny Pacquiao, not the same at all!

It does seem a long time ago, that Barrera era, that a certain segment of Filipino guerrillas were threatening to kidnap Manny, who was constantly surrounded by six bodyguards, and it does seem a long time ago that there were allegations of a barroom brawl, set aside by Manny simply stating it was nothing more than a broken beer bottle! Yes, a long time, but a short time to come now to Bam Bam.

Can’t Come Back!

“The right hands of fellowship, ye are fallen from grace.”—Galatians

Much has been made of the destruction, physically and psychologically, of a fighter who has been knocked completely unconscious in a main event as Manny was against Marquez. 

There is the thought that a boxer is not able to come back from such a conclusive concussive event. But that is a thought that, in common, should be taken to not apply in the case of exceptionally uncommon men. Such thoughts set as a rule are nonsense and Manny has publicly been the first to verbally invalidate such boxing mythology. Do we believe him? Absolutely! You should believe that Manny Pacquiao will not let the Marquez knockout affect his performance. Pacquiao has been monitored physically and is primed to fight. From a psychological standpoint he has been stopped previously, twice, albeit not in the Marquez fashion. One has to understand a portion of Manny’s psyche and that is the fact that to Manny’s mind such knockout “is just part of boxing.” The congressman from the Philippines does not let that “part of boxing” consume him like it has many previous pugilistic recipients of face first to the canvas disaster.

Historically speaking, the theory that a boxer does not come back from such knockout loss does not hold value. There is a long list of immediate and successful comebacks not the least of which includes the following:

1. Lennox Lewis being knocked flat by the Rock Rahman, only to return in an immediate engagement to knock the Rock off his block.

2. Joe Louis being flattened in his first fight with Schmeling and going on to have the most successful heavyweight championship reign in history.

3. Duran being put to sleep by a Hearns right hand, only to return to win the middleweight title against Iran Barkley, the same man who, in his previous fight had stretched Thomas Hearns in the third round. And for that matter, Hearns, having been stretched by Barkley, going on to win super middleweight titles and light-heavyweight titles. 

4. Floyd Patterson having been dropped seven times in his fight with “Ingo” and coming back to become the first man to regain the Heavyweight Championship with that huge left hook. 

I Feel Good

Over at the PhilBoxing.com website the article titles of the past few weeks bode well for a Pacquiao in full swing training: “Pacquiao punishes two sparring partners,” “Pacquiao ahead of schedule,” “Pacquiao feels like he’s twenty-five.” These and various other titles suggest that we will see a very substantial and formidable fighter, one that we have perhaps not seen to the fullest the past few fights.

Life of course works its roadmaps in strange ways. The Ring Magazine reports the following this month that “Sources close to Top Rank, his (Pacquiao’s) promoter, have told the Ring that he (Pacquiao) asked for a two million dollar advance on his undisclosed purse for Rios.” In another boxing cliché, it may not be the best motivation for an older boxer to strictly step into the ring for Dollars only, but one expects that there is a great more than only Dollars involved in this fight. In Pacquiao’s mindset no doubt there is a driving force beyond dollars and what makes sense is redemption from his face first folly last fight. 

The boxing business landscape changes course drastically. One only need look the past few weekends ago at the Bradley vs. Marquez fight and where one fighter stands on the bartering table. 

Don’t believe that old Roger Whitaker song of “I Don’t Believe in If Anymore.” If Manny looks the destructive force of old, and if Floyd Mayweather runs out of enticing opponent options, for you and I are to be sent a Khan otherwise, then the “If” horizons may open up to a later next year huge fight extravaganza. 

There couldn’t be a more cinematic life story than Manny’s; poor kid from the streets, a penny less that to his pocket, comes to America, not only makes financially good, but also becomes an International Icon not only as a boxer but as a public figure and politician. In the cinematic cliché version the hero always ends up on top. Will Manny show victorious against Rios? Is Manny the “hero?” Is there a “hero?” Is there ever a “hero” in this business of boxing?

Ice and Easy

Frank “the Bear” touched base the other day. You may not recall Frank, he is the brick laying boxing “expert” who is now 12-0 in big fights, having picked Bradley over Marquez.

Pick ‘em “Bear” Frank emailed and phoned in at his best: “Counselor,” he said, “let me tell you that Champion Manny is going to rise up from the ashes like that ancient Greek Phoenix bird who keeps regenerating. Hell, given Manny’s whole life background, he’s probably regenerated, and reborn, umpteen times already. That’s probably the way he looks at it.” 

Frank carried on as follows: “He’s going to rise up and beat the hell out of ‘Bam Bam.’ Manny will be highly motivated and a part of him is going to be pissed of being hammered from one post to the next, by the way of the various reactions, media wise, to his last loss—lotta people laughing behind his back—lotta fucked up photo comedy imagery of Manny laying face first. Trust me kid, there’s not going to be any Justin Bieber like entry music of ‘One Less Lonely Girl.’ This one will be Manny entering to some smack-assed ‘We Came to Crush’ or some old-fashioned The Who ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ You like that music stuff eh Kid. Aside from all that Kid (Schmidt) just take a really good hard look at Rios who gets boxing fan love as the warrior that he is. The truth is he’s never been in the ring with the grade of this type of fighter. Rios is substantially slow footed and is fighting a guy in Manny who has exceptionally fast in and out footwork. Lastly, I make this comment surprisingly, given that Rios is trained by a top-notch guy, but the simple fact is that Mr. Brandon, as evidenced in his last fight with Alvarado, does not have a clue how to cut off the ring. There is one hell of a difference Kid (Schmidt) from following a guy around the ring as opposed to horizontally moving with him and then cutting him off. Want to see it done right? Then go watch some George Foreman films. Foreman may have had a lot of deficiencies but working his man, one way or the other, to the ropes was not one of them. Ice and Easy Kid (Schmidt). Manny is going to get hit, he’s going to have his bruising, but fast in and out movement and hand speed…he can make it Ice and Easy if he wants and if he fights smart, and that’s what he wants…Ice and Easy!” 

Our Dear “Bear” may suffer his first “one.” Where Brandon Rios is concerned there’s always of Ice and nothing is ever easy. The fights are nice but there’s never anything easy in boxing. Even the “easy” isn’t nice!

Magic

Great Champions, like great Artists, have ways of rising up and producing back of memory current “magic.” They believe in themselves, and in their magic, for they have produced such before. There is ingrained confidence of magic born of pre-production many times over. It makes a Champion believe, like yesteryear, in themselves and their ability to make something big happen instantaneously. 

Old promoters, like great Artists, take what was yesteryear, something ordinary, and make it something magically extraordinary. There’s an opponent, slow of foot, but hellacious of intent as a warrior. There’s a comeback megastar. There is the excitement and broad expanse of a new untapped promotional country and Venue. There will be “magic.” 

The lights will go down in the arena before this big fight, the speakers will be turned up, and a giant TV screen above will come on with Top Rank’s “This Is Boxing – Legends of the Ring” video. I was playing it the other night as Uncle Steve walked down the law office corridor and stuck his head in to watch. “That’s awesome! You know when you watch that and you watch all those legends, boy, when its’ done right it’s still the best sport ever!” That was Uncle Steve’s comments and they speak for themselves. As the video ends Howard Cosell’s voice, in a fit of excitement will exclaim, “Oh that left, it floored him, it came from nowhere, Ali is the winner…” Don’t close your eyes, for good magic, great magic, is something not seen every day and is easily missed. “If” the boxing landscape readjusts late next year, the glory yet of this era’s best magicians, Mayweather and Pacquiao…!

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Manny Pacquiao vs Marco Antonio Barrera I



Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao 06.12.2008 HD



Lennox Lewis - Hasim Rahman. 2001-11-17



Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling, II (Full Film, HD)



Thomas Hearns vs Roberto Duran



Roberto Duran vs Iran Barkley Full Fight



Ingemar Johansson vs Floyd Patterson, II



Manny Pacquiao vs Brandon Rios (GP promo)



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  1. MIKE SCHMIDT 10:45pm, 11/23/2013

    Congrats Frankieeeee—13-0 on the big ones—UPS my dough to the Marriott on The Riverwalk, San Antonio, Dec 13th and see you at the fights that weekend. Pacman fought smart, fast, hard punching. As per my other post on Rios—outcoached, outclassed, outpunched. The “Game Plan” was….get hit in the face repeatedly and hope your face wears out Manny’s hands. Failed!!!!

  2. Mike Schmidt 06:39am, 11/13/2013

    PS- another one that comes to mind—Gene Fullmer getting starched by Sugar Ray with that walk out left hook. The Rock of Utah, Fullmer, of course having a stellar run after that up to the Tiger bouts.

  3. Mike Schmidt 04:40am, 11/12/2013

    My hope is to do a full write up on Manny vs Floyd, and in full consideration of Floyd’s style and age of next fall, when this fight might be workable—hoping to do that in January Korokan—and thanks for the post

  4. EL BASTARDO MAGNIFICO 04:38am, 11/12/2013

    Of course—very interesting points—long list, Bob Foster getting ten counted by Joe Frazier and going on to defend his title ten times. Ezzard Charles getting ripped by Jersey Joe in their third fight and coming back incredibly inside of the next few months to beat Rex Layne and Joey Maxim. Ken Norton collapsing in his corner after having the hell beaten out of him by Jose Luis Garcia and going on to a huge Hall of Fame career. Ruben Olivares, while not unconscious, going thru a hellacious war with Arguello and getting dropped late, and count out in the 13th and coming back inside six months incredibly to knock out School Boy Bobby Chacon. But interesting points.

  5. Jan Swart 02:58am, 11/08/2013

    The is one distinction to be drawn between the knockouts of Lewis, Louis, Duran and Patterson referred to above, and that of Pacquiao: Louis and Patterson went down (and stayed down) from an accumulation of punches and were net really ‘knocked out’, while Duran and Lewis, though rendered temporily unconscious, were awake before the count was completed, but not able to get up in time. Pacquiao was knocked OUT in the true sense of the word, and remained out for several minutes. ‘Out’ as Walcott was against Marciano and Tate was against Weaver. Walcott and Tate were never the same after that, and should have retired. So should Manny Pacquiao.

  6. korokan 02:45am, 11/07/2013

    i hope mike schmidt will write about why fans of pacman clamoring for a fight against fraud gayweather jr., while fans of fraud jr. are not interested to see their idol fight pac.  the reason being is that they consider pacman already a washed up fighter and is not in the caliber of fraud jr.  despite pac’s agreeing on osdt (olympic style drug testing), still fraud jr. seems to have unlimited excuses after excuses to avoid that megafight against pac.  and fraud jr.‘s fans also in agreement with their idol.  if fraud jr.,‘s self-claimed greatness is certified only by fighting boxers not named manny pacquiao, that greatness is raw and invalid!!!  and yet yahoo! sportswriters like paul magno and david king are continuously doing every way they could to ruin pac with their trash articles against pac and praise fraud jr. with his defensive style and ring intelligence.  in boxing, the outcome of the bout is the primary gauge of a boxer and not style, which is only secondary.  but for floyd jr.‘s fans his style is what makes him great not the fighters fraud jr. faced and defeated.

  7. Mike Schmidt 01:04am, 11/07/2013

    Thanks U.K. News Co., Philboxing and everybody in the “East.” You guys rock for sure. Fearless Editor as always great layout.

  8. raxman 01:53pm, 11/06/2013

    i’ll be amazed if this doesn’t turn out to pac v hatton revisited. its not just pac’s power its the angles he gets on his punches, the timing at which he delivers them. bam bam will be hurt because he’ll be hit without realizing that the punch is coming. you look at pac’s best performances and they’re against guys, like rios, that come straight ahead looking for the brawl.

  9. Rolling Thunder 01:15pm, 11/06/2013

    Well Brandon Rios, sometimes tough just isn’t enough.

  10. Armando 09:41am, 11/06/2013

    An old great fighter usually has what it takes to beat an elite young fighter.

  11. Mike Schmidt 05:00am, 11/06/2013

    Thank you- it’s hard to imagine how Brandon is going to cope with Manny’s in and out, turning, footspeed. Brandon likes to set up and plant before he punches-ain’t happening with the Pacman. Mr Rios is going to eat a whole lot of shots to get where he wants to get. But but but other than Abril have we ever scene a Bam Bam affair that was not exciting!!!! Thanks again for the post and enjoy the fights!!!

  12. EDSEL 02:20am, 11/06/2013

    nice read. One thing is for sure, Manny’s speed and power are still there. A common knowledge witnessed during the JMM fight. however, his tolerance to power shots maybe diminished, but its not the caliber of Rios to make an unpredictable shot that will make Manny guessing. The question is: is Rios ready for a motivated Manny.

  13. EL BASTARDO MAGNIFICO 01:12am, 11/06/2013

    Agreed and yes emphasis on the EXCITING when Manny gets in the ring.

  14. nwo 12:43am, 11/06/2013

    i will be surprised if manny will still be able to compete the same way 5 yrs ago.. he will destroy rios in an impressive manner, bad timing for brandon to face the filipino legend at this time when pac is on the wall. at 35 he is already declining, but enough for any best welters out there, the way pac fighting way bigger guys than him and his ways of taking a punch just to land his own has already take its toll. and the most that really is the sad part is he was taken by his so many extra curricular activities outside the ring which in turn we havent seen his max potential as a fighter, can you imagine pacquiao who will only breathes boxing? deym what kind of extreme animal might weve seen in the ring.. anyway he has carried the sport in his shoulder for a couple of years when no one is done it.. he has excited fans and bring mainstream to the sport in someway.. pac has done enough when not one of us expected him to do.. a one arm fighter with a typhoon pace that is too much for everybody.. nice ride though.. manny has enough left he will still entertain us for a couple.. enjoy the legendary pacquiao.. you will miss this all time great 2-3 years from now

  15. volti 08:44pm, 11/05/2013

    History speaks for itself.

    Manny has been there before & will bounce back with an exceptional class. He likes the feeling & savors this somewhat like an “underdog” status. It just motivates him. His last 2 fights are not a picture of a fighter who is going down.

    Prepare yourself to see the great MP rises again.

    God bless everyone.

  16. El Bastardo Magnifico 08:08pm, 11/05/2013

    Interesting point- in Duran’s case he was 33 and was over 80 fights and most certainly lived fast and furious. It was one of the few birthday bash fights for Roberto where he obviously did not shine. There are of course a long further list of guys coming back- ie Jersey Joe Walcott for example

  17. Barok 07:52pm, 11/05/2013

    You are forgetting something folks. All the comebacks from a KO came when these boxers - Joe Louis, Roberto Duran, Lennox Lewis, Floyd Patterson, and Manny himself - were in their early twenties or under thirty. Manny is almost 35 years old when he fights in November 23. Not to mention his extra-curricular activities, which dissipated his energy and focus. He could win one, two, or three more fights, but I doubt if he will rise again like he was before.

  18. Mike Schmidt 07:17pm, 11/05/2013

    Two geezers at Caesers!!! I like it Biker- good stuff. Well, we know we will never see these two in the ring in their prime obviously. Look at Frazier vs Ali Numero 3- both guys way past their prime days but it still was a hell of a fight. Biker watching my man Roberto eat that cobra long right hand pains me to this day- seasoned corner on Duran’s side I must say- they lifted the great Champion off the canvas asap to avoid the look of snoozeland for too long camera optics- keep on punching Biker and thanks as always for the post from this crazy Canuck in K-W land

  19. BIKERMIKE 07:10pm, 11/05/2013

    Hearns Duran….thunderous defeat….best strategy for Tommy…...ICON

  20. BIKERMIKE 07:02pm, 11/05/2013

    pbf faced a Mexican tuff kid…with lots of wins….and was about as dangerous to pbf as my Mother..who is 90 ys old..still alive…but suffering from dementia and no idea what comes next
    WHat a threat pbf has exposed himself to…....YET…even as ....whatever that was…

    We got pacman facing…sorry ...can’t think of it just now…..
    Two ‘herculan’ efforts by ...name fighters…to stage or not…the much awaited ..‘thing’

  21. BIKERMIKE 06:56pm, 11/05/2013

    ....and that….many time ...cancelled or ..terms not met ....for the pbf/pacman thing…...

    THat ship has sailed.

    ..those that were horny about it ...what..nine years ago??....some of them have died….and many others are looking to the young tigers..

    What was a great fight will be another…....‘TWO GEEZERS AT CEASERS’ thing

  22. BIKERMIKE 06:48pm, 11/05/2013

    you know Schmiddy…

    I think it is over for Pacquiao…...he has matured…and invested his interests eleswhere
    Like the tiger….Jack Dempsey….......he went and got civilized

  23. Darrell 06:37pm, 11/05/2013

    The split decision for Mayweather should’ve been a comfortable UNANIMOUS decision to….Floyd Mayweather.  ODLH did little after round 5….but it was a pro Oscar gig so, that’s how the cookie crumbles.

    I like Pacquiao as a boxer in a tepid sort of way, though have never understood the one-eyed appeal of many.  I cannot see Rios beating him.  Should be a one sided fight.

  24. Mike Schmidt 04:51pm, 11/05/2013

    And good morning Viet Nam!!! You got it perfecto right Punch. And Mr. Bob Arum is adding fuel to the Manny fire with items such as “this could be the end” if he does not win and it “would be devastating to Manny” if he lost. Methinks Brandon Rios, and lets not mistake this—a big ask taking this guy on after a layoff, is going to be at the end of the Manny Phoenix and in the end Bam Bam is going to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong guy!!!!

  25. Punch Shine of Vietnam 04:24pm, 11/05/2013

    We followed the story of Manny Pacquiao that every time he was knockout he became a real beast…you guys better watch his chronology fight video….he’s first knockout was from the hand of Rustico Torrecampo of Philippines that turned him into a Terminator after all then came the second one from Medgoen Singsurat of Thailand that made Pacquiao The Destroyer afterall… and the last one from Erik Morales loss-decision he was then became a PACMAN.
    The guy who won 8 division championship (the only) is an exception to the of never return list…..

  26. Mike Schmidt 03:28pm, 11/05/2013

    Good morning Manila—you guys Rock!!!!

  27. Mike Schmidt 02:34pm, 11/05/2013

    Ah Mel you are trying to get me into trouble with my Pinoy friends. Look I am on record for a few years, up to last year, now, that Floyd beats Manny. I am going to surprise my friends that know me on your question—FLOYD HAS BEEN SHOWING SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN IN THE SPEED DEPARTMENT (COTTO FIGHT)—In your scenario by next fall FLOYD WILL BE CLOSE TO 38 YEARS OLD—People forget he is getting old—amazing how he continues to perform at such a level—POWER IS THE LAST THING TO GO FOR OLD FIGHTERS—ASK GEORGE FOREMAN!!!! IF MANNY REALLY REALLY STILL HAS THE DRIVE—“IF, IF,IF” they were to get together next year with a close to 38 year old Floyd—MANNY WILL KNOCK HIM OUT AND THEN HE GO ON LATE NIGHT TV AND SING “TEARS OF A CLOWN” JUST FOR JUSTIN BIEBER HEE HEE.  But that is next year—for a 37 year old fighter soon enough even a half year is a whole lot of sudden mileage—ASK THE SPEED DEMON OF HIS DAY ROY JONES—That is it Mel and quit trying to get me in trouble with my Pinoy friends and my buddy Jeff Mayweather all in one sling!!!!

  28. Mel F. 02:12pm, 11/05/2013

    Next fall Schmidty, Mayweather vs. PacMan!  Who wins?

  29. Mike Schmidt 01:59pm, 11/05/2013

    Thank you Ton!!!!! That is a great moniker by the by—who is to argue with a OneTon—NOBODY—and in this case why the hell would I! Seriously though—thanks much.

  30. OneTonMan 01:11pm, 11/05/2013

    The author, Michael Schmidt, makes his article so mind-opening that one has a hard time cutting it short. It just makes for interesting reading. Great analysis, a different point of view, and very factual. We need more of this writer!

  31. Mike Schmidt 10:34am, 11/05/2013

    Agreed Johnny. Manny better have the A Plus Manny—Rios, unlike Bradley, is going to bring it. I sat ringside for his title win over Acosta—who at that time was on a streak and can really lay it down—Rios took some amazing shots and kept coming—he will not stop trying to force the issue—he is a tough SOB!!!! Bradley yapping about “laying it on Pacquiao’s ass” in a rematch is something he should have TRIED to do in the first fight—RIOS IS GOING TO TRY AND MAKE THIS A BRAWL. A great dance partner for Manny IF Manny brings it with speed, hands and feet, and killer instinct.

  32. Johnny 09:45am, 11/05/2013

    Although, we are always open to the idea that anything can happen inside the ring. But regardless of the all possibilities, we never seen Pacquiao being outboxed, outskilled, outscored by an opponent. If he would just give extra effort, more hunger, extra dedication for the fight. We will be witnessing an old Pacquiao come fight night.

  33. Mike Schmidt 08:47am, 11/05/2013

    As always, to Rob Cruz, and to all the true boxing fans and folks that run philboxing much thanks for your collegial support—A RARITY IN THIS BUSINESS and shows what class you are.

  34. El Bastardo Magnifico 06:55am, 11/05/2013

    Bulls eye Sneak! Thanks

  35. Pete The Sneak 06:01am, 11/05/2013

    Schmidty, another stirring write up with tons of food for thought. I too agree that this may not be the Pac Man of the Barrera/Morales/ Delahoya/Hatton fights, but I still think this version of Manny will be enough to stop Rios. I do liken that JMM KO to the Duran right hand from Hearns that almost decapitated Roberto. I think Manny has that same type of heart and it will show in this fight. Rest assured, Manny is an extremely prideful man in spite of his humbleness and public passive persona. Deep inside, Manny is a warrior and I have to agree with Pick ‘em Bear’ Frank that Pac man will out skill and out will a tough, but extremely unorthodox at times Bam Bam Rios. I think speed and movement will be the factor here. As much as I love Rios, he does not have the ‘Boxing’ skills of a JMM and unless he is able to catch Manny on the ropes and land those vicious uppercuts consistently, Rios will be outworked by ‘today’s’ version of Manny Pacquiao….Peace.

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