It’s a topic often mentioned but not one that fits the usual array of highlights of a boxing career. However it is inescapable that generally to be great you have to be able to give a punch as well as take a punch.
The great Panamanian champion Roberto Duran was nicknamed "Manos de Piedra" or “Hands of Stone” for his vaunted punching power, perhaps a modification for Manny Pacquiao would be “Chin of Stone” for his ability to take a punch and keep going.
In that simple statement is one of the keys to the greatness of Manny Pacquiao the eight time world champion. He has fought some of the hardest hitters of all time and in spite of a few earlier bouts in his career has held up remarkably well. There is no problem with speech, his smile looks the same and his career in politics has taken off. As a congressman it is a job that requires all the faculties of the mind to do well and he still has them.
So is their really something to the ability to take a punch in the heart of champions? More importantly can they do it and avoid permanent physical damage? The answer is that many could take it but few were able to have longevity in the game and come out physically sound. Enter Manny Pacquiao maybe one in thousands who have tried and one in a few who have succeeded and been a champion in multiple weight divisions.
Sparring partner Michael Medina offered some thoughts as he prepared Pacquiao for the Margarito fight as reported in TheRing: “I can tell right now that Manny Pacquiao can take a punch. Because I was throwing a couple of bombs in there, and he took them like a man and came back throwing more punches. I know this is going to be a tough fight. But the way I see the skill and footwork, he should be able to outbox Margarito in the late rounds. He (Pacquiao) has the perfect leverage, the perfect technique for throwing a punch. Like Mike Tyson, he had that perfect technique. That’s why he was knocking everybody out. It’s the same with Manny Pacquiao."
Antonio Margarito did not think Pacquiao would be a problem once he landed a punch anywhere on him. Body shot, head shot, grazing punch or hit the guy on the ropes. He did all that but the result was not what Margarito expected. Miguel Cotto thought he could left hook the little guy into submission and found out that when Pacquiao got hit he only hit him harder in return. The initial shock of the thing when early in a fight you hit Manny Pacquiao with a shot that would drop a horse and he is still standing has undone a lot of great fight plans. Makes me think of Roberto Duran and his hands of stone and how some of these guys could have used them.
Sports writer Ronnie Nathanielsz reported in ABS-CBN news: “Nathanielsz said the Pacman's impressive ring prowess is a far cry from his skills 12 years ago when he was knocked out by Pinoy boxer Rustico Torrecampo. Nathanielsz explained that Manny was sent to the canvass because Asians mature late. His jaw back then was weak but Ronnie said that Pacquiao’s jaw “got stronger and stronger.” “Now he can take a punch and not worry. He can take a punch to the body and maybe not worry,” the sports analyst said.”
Now we come to the next Pacquiao war against Shane Mosley. After watching Mosley hit Floyd Mayweather Jr. with a couple of shots to the chin that looked like they came from the floor and momentarily staggered him it leaves me uneasy about Mosley’s ability to stop Pacquiao in their fight. Champions fight back and just like Mayweather came back and boxed to a victory Pacquiao will probably do the same but it will be another version of an end result.
Watch the old films and the one striking thing is that when Pacquiao is hit he is going to hit you harder. If you can take a punch then there is a chance you can win but first it will have to be proven. So far Juan Manuel Marquez has not disappointed. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that a rematch with Marquez is not at the top of the list for the Pacquiao camp.
The thinking of anyone is not something resident in the keys of those that write the news or purport to have some insight into the human heart. We only guess and transfer to the keys and to the reader what we feel it must be like to be in certain situations before they happen. So it is for the fighter that hits his opponent as hard as possible. Reaching back from hours of roadwork and hitting the bags and having sparring partners cringing in pain. How it must be when that shot that was formulated in planning and tried again and again until it was second nature landed and the other guy is still standing and still smiling. It’s round two and ten more to go and it is going to be a long way home. Ask Shane Mosley.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com