Manny Pacquiao needs to make a statement this December when he faces off against Juan Manuel Marquez. Unlike in their first three fights, the Filipino champion can’t simply go in with the attitude of wanting to lock up victory by any means. That was fine when he just wanted to prove that their initial draw was a fluke. We’re past that point now, though.
As he himself has stated repeatedly, Pacquiao’s goal in this one is to knock Marquez out. Fans are questioning whether he still has it. Analysts are questioning whether he still has it. Heck, his own camp is questioning whether he still has it. And when you have to silence that many doubters, the only way to do it is by putting the other guy on the mat.
Realizing this much, Pacquiao pledged over the past few months to train harder than ever for his upcoming bout. Unfortunately, things didn’t get off to a great start when he delayed his U.S.-based training a few weeks ago. That made a lot of folks question the legitimacy of his earlier promises, and even sparked some interesting comments from Bob Arum.
Well, after a slight postponement, Pacquiao arrived in the States this week, and he’s training now, just like Arum wanted him to. So is the Top Rank Boss satisfied? Apparently not. According to The Examiner’s Chris Robinson, Arum offered this take on how his No. 1 fighter looked during sparring sessions.
“He’s in great spirits, his conditioning is good, but he showed a great deal of rust in his first sparring session,” Arum revealed. “Not slow, just rusty.”
For what it’s worth, Arum did also acknowledge that a bit of rust was standard operating procedure in these situations
“Freddie says that happens all the time with him, when he first starts sparring,” he stated. “I’m going to go tomorrow and see him spar tomorrow as well.”
Whether or not Pacquiao is rusty right now is sort of irrelevant – we’re too early in fight prep for December to worry about that. Him being rusty is totally understandable. Plus, Arum’s opinion is pretty worthless, either way.
The most interesting thing about his comments, though, is how apparent it is that the Top Rank boss is fretting about his guy’s upcoming bout. He understands how much is truly on the line in this one. And he’s right to fret. This match is important. How Pacquiao performs against Marquez will tell us everything we need to know about where his career goes from here.
(Kudos The Examiner)