Manny Pacquiao got knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez a little over a month ago. That night, as he was regaining consciousness, a camera zoomed in on the Filipino star catching his face in a state of puzzlement. Still dazed and confused from the hit he had just absorbed, the former eight division champ had no idea where he was, what he was doing, or what would come next.
His condition hasn't improved much since then.
Yes Pacquiao is more or less back to being healthy, but the goofy befuddled look that everyone saw on his face on Dec. 8 is the only one that can be associated with him and his camp at this point. They’re all dazed and confused. That is the only way to explain all of the mixed messages, poorly thought out ideas, and conflicting theories that have emerged from his promoters, advisors, trainers and family over the past two weeks.
First we heard that Pacquiao would seriously contemplate retirement. Despite pleas from his family and an assortment of fans, he rejected that idea. Fine. The next thing we heard was that he would only fight once in 2013, saving himself for a September showdown against Juan Manuel Marquez. Then a new report emerged, Pacquiao would fight twice this year – once in April and once in September. Later we heard the April bout might come against a respectable foe like Robert Guerrero or Brandon Rios. Most recently, we heard that it would actually be a tune-up against someone like Vyacheslav Senchenko or Jessie Vargas.
Mind you, these aren’t just bogus rumors perpetuated by the media – these are things various members of Top Rank and Pacquiao’s inner circle are actually saying themselves They are the ones planting these seeds, only to later have someone else from their own side come in and stomp over everything they said.
The latest stomper? Freddie Roach.
In what is a direct contradiction of everything that has been said thus far, Roach came and recently told Fight Hub TV (via Boxing Scene) that he doesn’t want an April tune-up for his fighter. He just wants a fifth bout against Marquez, end of story.
"They're talking about a tuneup fight in Macau right now, with him and Marquez on the show together against different opponents and then a rematch in September........that's being negotiated right now. The thing is, I don't really want the tuneup fight. I would rather just go straight into to the fifth fight. I don't think a guy of Pacquiao's level needs a tuneup fight. Thing is, he's going to get right back on the horse. The first thing he said to me [after the loss to Marquez] - we need to do it one more time.”
Let’s put aside for a moment that Roach’s general premise makes a whole lot of sense; the fact that Pacquiao’s camp can’t get its message straight is troubling. It speaks to that entire outfit not knowing how to cope with their guy’s decline and back-to-back losses. There is a way back to the top for the Filipino star, but he will never actually know what it is if his most trusted advisors steer him down the wrong path. And based on everything we’ve seen thus far, with everyone contradicting everyone else, it’s probably safe to say that Pacquiao getting steered down the wrong path is inevitable.
Back to the original point Roach was making, though. He is absolutely right, Pacquiao doesn’t need a tune-up. A tune-up has the potential to do more harm than good. The smartest thing he can do right now is to sit back, relax, train, and wait until next September to take on Marquez as was originally discussed. Yes, Top Rank won’t get the chance to bank off two events – boo hoo. Bob Arum will have to rough it with one new luxury vehicle this year.
The question now is: what’s wrong with Pacquiao? Why isn’t he taking control of this situation? Why is he acting like he’s still dazed from that Marquez knockout? Arum, Roach, Michael Koncz – these guys work for him. He is the boss, not them. He needs to determine what’s best for his future and tell them to step on board or step off.
Until he does that, these ridiculous conflicting statements will continue to come out on a daily basis.