There are two schools of thought on Manny Pacquiao’s losing streak. The first is fairly simple: He’s just suffered a lot of bad luck lately. After all, he was clearly robbed in the Timothy Bradley fight, and he was winning the Juan Manuel Marquez bout until he walked into a perfectly-timed counter. The second one is slightly more complex: Pacquiao may or may not be declining physically, but his dedication to boxing isn’t what it once was.
Seeing as that first theory is self-explanatory, let’s focus on the second.
Essentially, it’s based on the fact that, even prior to his loss to Bradley, Pacquiao was starting to look uncharacteristically bad. A lot of people felt as though he lost the third fight to Marquez. Similarly, nobody was especially impressed with his performance against ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley, a guy who was so far past his prime when fought Pacquiao that people started calling him ‘Splenda’. Even in the Bradley match, one that Pacquiao clearly won, he had his opponent hobbled and just couldn’t capitalize on it. The guy who ended Ricky Hatton’s career with a single knockout (sort of) no longer seemed to have that special it factor.
Some attributed Pacquiao’s decline to a physical thing. As guys age, they get worse. It’s just a biological fact. Others, however, suggested that this was a mental thing. That it was the byproduct of Pacquiao focusing more on his political career, and his gambling/dallying around, and then his religion, than the thing that made him an international superstar.
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At one point, after the third Marquez fight, Pacquiao admitted that he had been distracted – but he didn’t elaborate on it much.
This week, word came down that Pacquiao and his wife were expecting their fifth child. While that’s obviously a blessing and all that, one can’t help but wonder how this distraction will impact him in the lead-up to the Brandon Rios fight. The whole point of not fighting twice this year was Pacquiao getting his head straight, re-prioritizing things, and returning to old form distraction-free.
Will he be able to do that now? We’ll see.