Pacquiao Watch: Back but not quite

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – When was the last time Manny Pacquiao put his opponent on the seat of his pants multiple times en route to a stoppage victory?

In Macau, Sunday afternoon, Pacquiao launched his trademark two-fisted attack against New Yorker Chris Algieri, chasing the lanky Argentinian-American around the ring.

Pacquiao (in orange running shoes) does roadwork to build up his stamina in this file foto.Pic by Edwin Espejo
Pacquiao is back on top but needs the scalp of Mayweather to complete his greatness.Pic by Edwin Espejo

When referee Geno Rodriguez started to give the badly outclassed Algieri the first of 6 mandatory 8-counts, the gallery composed mostly of Filipinos was sensing the old fiery Pacquiao was back.

Half the jam-packed Cotai Arena was up on its feet when, in the sixth round, Pacquiao sent Algieri twice to the canvas. Those were the second and third knockdowns of the fight.

They were anticipating a climactic and dramatic knockout victory.

But it was not meant to be. Despite going down three more times, Algieri was able to finish the fight on both feet.

After absorbing the first telling punch of the evening – a thunderous straight to the body -Algieri was no longer into the fight. In fact, he threatened to run the marathon in his attempts to stay clear of Pacquiao.

Tough for him, there was no escaping Pacquiao inside the square ring that night.

But give Algieri the credit, he was able to ‘roll’ figuratively and literally with Pacquiao’s punches and cushioned the impact of those blows. Had he mixed it up with Pacquiao, the fight the fight would not have lasted more than three rounds.

And so Algieri made losers of those who bet against him via knockout.

Which brings us to the question, is the old Pacquiao back?

Pacquiao himself will admit that no matter how hard he tries, he will no longer be able to bring back his old self – the fighter who trashed the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and David Diaz. The man who made mincemeat of Ricky Hatton, Miguel Angel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. The Pacquiao of old who turned silly such boxing greats as Oscar de la Hoya and Shane Mosley.

Yes, Pacquiao has lost a step. Make that several steps.

But put in front of him any fighter in his weight class and an old Pacquiao is far and above the class of young Rioses, Algieris and Bradleys – any time.

There is only one boxer who can make Pacquiao look really old. But he is not fighting him because it might just be the kind of fight that will bring back the Pacquiao of old.

Man, if Pacquiao was old against Algieri, how scary will it be if he digs deep and finds his elixir once Floyd Mayweather Jr agrees to fight him?

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