One person deserves the majority of the blame for Manny Pacquiao’s embarrassing defeat to Timothy Bradley this past June. It isn't any of the totally inept judges who clearly weren’t watching the bout. It isn't Bradley. It isn't Freddie Roach, Bob Arum, or Alex Ariza. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of one person and one person only: Mr. Emmanuel "Manny" Dapidran Pacquiao.
Pacquiao should have knocked Bradley out, thus securing the victory all by himself. It should have never gone to the judges. Was Pacquiao completely robbed when it did ultimately go to the judges? Of course. The math speaks for itself – he clearly won the bout. He dominated every aspect of it, really. But that doesn’t change the fact that, with the match on the line, he couldn’t knock out a visibly hobbled, clearly defeated foe who was all but begging to be put out of his misery.
And Pacquiao’s inability to floor his opponents has become something of a trend. The Filipino champion hasn’t recorded a knockout in three years, and failing to do so in his last fight is what earned him his first defeat in more than seven years. Now, to be fair: for a lot of these three years, Pacquiao’s foes have run from him. You can’t knock out someone who is visibly running away from you. But that wasn’t the case against Bradley. His hurt feet ensured that there would be no chase. If Pacquiao wanted to, the knockout was there to be had.
He couldn’t do it.
This December, against Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao vows to do better.
"If I waited for him to throw the punches first, the fight would be boring. That's why I have always been the one to make the fight between us," said recently (via Boxing Scene).
"I will try not to fight as slow at the end of this fight as I did in the last three fights," Pacquiao said. "That is my focus now. I want to finish stronger in this fight."
That’s a smart mentality to go in with. Unless the Filipino champ steps up his intensity levels, he could very easily emerge from the ring next month having just earned his second consecutive loss.
"Right now my mind is focused on being more aggressive for this fight," Pacquiao said.
"If there is a chance in the ring during the fight, why not make the fight easy."
It’s easy to say. Will Pacquiao actually do it, though? We’ll all find out together in about two weeks.