By Greg Aspen: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum feels that Manny Pacquiao is coming into his fight against Brandon Rios in a much better place than the last time he fought against Juan Manuel Marquez last December. Pacquiao was knocked cold by Marquez in the 6th round in that fight. Arum feels that Pacquiao was too involved with talking to people on the phone, and too occupied with his political career.
Arum believes those distractions aren’t there this time for the Rios fight. One can only hope, but isn’t the first time we’ve heard excuses following a Pacquiao loss, because there was talk of Pacquiao having problems following his loss to Tim Bradley last year.
Arum said “He [Pacquiao] was spending time on the phone talking to people in the Philippines when he should have been sleeping,” via sweetscience. “Now that he’s home, he’s able to rest and take care of business at the proper time. His training has been incredible.”
I don’t believe that Pacquiao lost to Marquez because he was spending time talking to people on the phone, not sleeping enough or spending time on his political career. It just looked like Pacquiao couldn’t handle Marquez’s power, and kept getting dropped each time he’d hit him cleanly. Pacquiao has always been easy to hit during his career, but in this case he couldn’t handle Marquez’s new power that he’d developed with the help of his strength and conditioning coach. It is interesting to see Arum making excuses for Pacquiao though. I wonder what excuses Arum will have if he gets knocked out by Rios. He can’t use the phone or not rested excuses now because Arum says that he’s rested this time.
The reality is that Pacquiao is getting older, he’s turning 35 in December, and he’s not able to dominate like he did before. Arum can help him out with his aging by being a little more selective with his match-making, but he’s not doing him any favors by matching him against guys like Rios, Marquez and Tim Bradley at this stage in his career. If Arum wants Pacquiao to prolong his career than he needs to back him off from quality opposition and have him face older fighters or fringe level contenders so that he can look good and dominate.
Arum should also talk Pacquiao into moving down in weight to the lightweight division because he might be able to get another 5 years out of his Pacquiao’s career if he can have him fighting in the lightweight division.