Boxing

Pacquiao Needs to Let Go of Excuses, Embrace Reality

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As much as fans and media would like to ascribe nothing but honorable character traits to multi-division world champ Manny Pacquiao, it has to be acknowledged that there’s also a less honorable side to the fighting Senator from the Philippines. 

That less-than-honorable side reared its ugly head in the aftermath of Pacquiao’s unanimous decision loss to Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas this past Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Manny, for all his humble graciousness in victory, good nature, and philanthropy, is an inveterate excuse-maker.

His history has shown us that when things don’t go his way in the ring or he just wasn’t as sharp as he’d like to be, the Filipino grasps at an explanation for why some outside force or extenuating factor kept him from being his true self. And, often, he’ll offer up these excuses by preceding them with a firm, “I’m not making any excuses, but…”

“Actually, I know his style,” Pacquiao told members of the media after the Ugas defeat. “But the thing is, I want to do my plan, but my plans in the ring – I have a lot of techniques for his style. But the thing is, but I’m not saying that this is my excuse, but no, you know, my two legs is cramping. I cannot move. That’s why I can’t move around. I can, in early days I can easily move and out-box him. You know Manny Pacquiao.

“But this time around, it’s like my two legs is tight and hurting me in [the] second round, until 12 rounds. But I’m not making excuses. That’s the reason why I cannot move and I just staying countering him, of his punches. That’s what happened…”

Add this leg cramping stuff– which he attributes to, possibly, overextending himself in training– to His other “I’m not making excuses, but…” greatest hits. There was the injured shoulder coming into the Floyd Mayweather loss. He attributed the draw in his first encounter with Juan Manuel Marquez to discomfort caused by cheap socks worn to the ring. He blamed his loss to Erik Morales on a number of things, including weakness caused by pre-fight blood testing in the days prior to the contest. 

Reality and competitive integrity dictate that fighters leave all excuses outside the ring. It is neither sporting nor fair to dig for ways to diminish an opponent’s well-earned victory and achievement. For the sake of the sport, it has to be assumed that all fighters making the conscious decision to enter the ring on fight night are 100%. If they are NOT, that’s just poor judgement on their part and they should shut up about the bad decision they made.. 

Pacquiao is a warrior and a born competitor. Men like him do NOT go down easy or accept defeat fully. That’s just the nature of men born to battle. In his case, that dogged competitive nature not only manifests itself in his well-known drive in training and his tenacious nature in the ring, but also, unfortunately, in this tendency of his to make excuses for subpar performances.

However, the only explanation that counts when it comes to Yordenis Ugas’ victory over Manny Pacquiao is that Ugas was simply the better man that night, facing a 42-year-old fighter who looked every bit his age. 

Tossing out excuses cheapens the image and positive vibe of a fighter who has otherwise put together a virtually impeccable fighting legacy. 

Manny has so much to be happy for and has been fortunate in so many ways, including the way he went out on Saturday. There’s no reason to inject any “yes, buts” into this possible ring farewell.

As this writer wrote elsewhere:

“Sooner or later, age catches up with everyone and Pacquiao definitely got tapped on the shoulder by father time on Saturday. 

But Manny went out in the gentlest way possible against an opponent who’s never gunning to kill and was absolutely fine with taking a scorecard W. If he had found himself across the ring from original opponent Errol Spence, things may have been ugly.  And let’s not think of the brutality that could’ve ensued if Saturday’s version of Pacquiao had met the hungry and angry Terence Crawford.

So, this is definitely the right and proper time for a Manny Pacquiao retirement. With a possible run for the Presidency of the Philippines on the horizon and absolutely nothing more to prove in the ring, there’s zero reason to keep fighting. It’s time for Manny to move on to bigger and more significant things.”

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com