By Greg Aspen: Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach may be saying that Pacquiao has fully recovered from his devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez from last December, but boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard is more concerned about Pacquiao’s mental status going into his November 23rd fight against Brandon Rios this month in Macao, China.
Leonard wonders whether Pacquiao is mentally back from the loss, because he sees a devastating KO like the one that Pacquiao suffered as being potentially bad for a fighter, even one as great as Pacquiao has been in the past.
“it’s all psychological, especially with the last one against Marquez, because when a fighter gets knocked out in that fashion, it can become an Achilles heel if he let’s it,” Leonard told RingTV. “Physically, I think Manny will be okay, but the next question is his mental stability. How secure is that? No one really knows where he is mentally and psychologically.”
Leonard has a great point. Pacquiao says he’s not bothered by the KO, and that he’s fully recovered. Pacquiao sees the KO as part of the sport. However, we don’t really know whether it’s hurt Pacquiao mentally, and he may not know either until he gets out there and starts fighting. If we see a tentative Pacquiao, then you can bet that he’ll be concerned about not wanting to get hit to the head.
He’s also had Roach telling him to focus more on boxing rather than slugging with Rios, so it’s likely that Pacquiao will fight nothing like he did in the past before he was knocked out. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as he doesn’t give away the fight by being too passive and letting Rios win the rounds by default because he’s afraid to get hit.
Pacquiao seems like the type that will fall into his old pattern of fighting where he’ll use a lot of in and out attacks. I don’t think he’ll change due to the KO, but then again it’s definitely possible that we could be able to see a whole new Pacquiao in this fight and that may not be such a bad thing.