Being thirty four years of age in most careers in life is considered far from being old but in the world of boxing it can seem like a lifetime, especially for fighters who have that kill or be killed type of mentality when they enter the ring. These types of fighter’s main objective are to please the fans at any cost regardless of how much punishment they have to endure in the process.
Generally they are able to get by with their superior speed, reflexes, power, athleticism and endurance. They are able to get away with not having to be as technically sound as most fighters who don’t share their same physical gifts. Manny Pacquiao for a great part of his career has been one of those fighters, but one has to wonder at thirty four years of age are his physical gifts deteriorating?
History has shown that fighters who have had Manny Pacquiao’s type of style don’t last long as long as the fighters who are more technically sound and rely more on the art of the sweet science. Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather, and Juan Manuel Marquez are prime examples of technically gifted older fighters who are still going strong and are able to perform at a high level.
Fighters like Roy Jones Jr. and Muhammad are examples of fighters who relied heavily on their cat like reflexes and great foot speed, but once they reached their mid thirties they were nowhere near as effective as they once were in their mid twenties.
Other fighters like Arturo Gatti, Mickey Ward, Antonio Margarito, and Fernando Vargas didn’t share Manny Pacquiao’s athletic prowess, but they had the same mentality and took the same approach as him whenever they entered the ring. They were all extremely offensive fighters and didn’t shy away from heated exchanges very much like Pacquiao. These men all retired in their thirties not that far from Pacquiao’s age. One can suspect as a result of all the punishment that they took in the ring.
Brandon Rios, Pacquiao’s upcoming opponent, also has that same type of mentality and for that very reason most people are expecting a war when both men meet on November 23. The big difference is Rios is twenty seven years old and in his physical prime. He has never been close to being stopped in thirty three fights and has yet to take a backward step. Rios has power in both hands and is iron chinned with great stamina. This looks to be a tough fight for Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao hasn’t looked overly impressive since his destruction of Miguel Cotto back in 2009, which was the last time he scored a stoppage victory. He is coming off of a devastating sixth round stoppage at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez from last December. Did Marquez start the beginning of the end for Pacquiao and can Brandon Rios finish the job with an exclamation point? We’ll get the answers to both questions on November 23.