Only the person who risks is truly free.
It requires him to believe what others will not; stubbornly defying conventional truth that's heard, if only to see beyond the forest while blinded by the tree. “Paccau. Pack-wah? Pac…” fumbled Jim Lampley, as an equally confused Larry Merchant glossed over the linguistic faux pas with insouciance. Legends almost always begin this way; at first gaining the attention of the aristocrat, before [making him aware] that he is rare.
What Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 39KOs) did to the feared Lehlo Ledwaba that night in June 2001 accomplished both, and went beyond merely capturing an IBF super bantamweight world title and the imagination of HBO. He made legends turn their heads to the side and look at him differently. Then came the November 2003 massacre of the great Marco Antonio Barrera. Whenever it is that an athlete causes impossible to pause; revealing an admirable stare and a smile, one that salutes their bravery with a silent round of applause…a legend is born.
“Pac-Man”, a 3rd world tsunami of a ring god, was born that night and died in December 2012. This began with the gradual shift of impossible's call to political warfare; dragging Pac-Man into a ring of suits and ties, while leaving Manny Pacquiao alone to fight ring dragons and the ravages of time.
But now, according to CNN Philippines and multiple media reports, Philippine senator and former congressman Manny Pacquiao will go to war with Argentinean badass and WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36KOs). This, over the idea of a more star-studded battle with Danny “Swift” Garcia, in the wake of his 9th round demolition of Brandon Rios.
Matthysse is not the same powerful fighter that was outboxed by a southpaw Zab Judah in November 2010 before his conditioning faded. Hell, he's not even the same fighter that gave pedestrian lefty Devon Alexander a lot of it several months later. He is not the fighter that mauled Lamont Peterson and is less than “The Machine” that DSG malfunctioned on the undercard of “Mayweather/Canelo: The One” in September 2013.
If ever there's defeat out of victory, that was on display during a concussive, bloody war with Ruslan Provodnikov; a win that left him as a physical shell of himself for Viktor Postol. Nothing I witnessed against a less-than-vanilla basic Tewa Kiram from Thailand last month changed this view of Matthysse as a “shot” gun.
THE RESURRECTION OF ‘PAC-MAN'
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is basically right down the street from the Philippines, as a Pacquiao fight within that archipelago would provide instant humanitarian relief from a resultant economic boost. The Filipino icon clearly wanted no part in a meaningless Mike Alvarado farcical affair that would've done nothing for his legacy, while helping to more establish that of Terence “Bud” Crawford. It would've been especially insulting to raise the profile of a Jeff Horn from Australia, who was allowed to play Rugby with the senator on behalf of Queensland and their officials.
What we're seeing now with boxing, is an international game of thrones, with major fighters representing countries as major chess pieces. The very intriguing melodrama surrounding the crowning of an undisputed cruiserweight champion, as “Iron” Murat Gassiev takes on Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is as significant as the World Boxing Super Series itself. It establishes a major sport in that region and spawns new economic development, which is exactly what Top Rank would be doing with Pacquiao in Malaysia.
As for Pacquiao himself, this fight with Matthysse would allow the senator to conduct whatever official affairs he needs to within the region (quite possibly involving South American interests), while dragging Pac-Man into the ring to resurrect a dragon for perhaps the last time. This would be an old version of the old Pacquiao subjecting a different Marco Antonio Barrera to a new massacre just outside of Singapore.
Matthysse was never an A-fighter; rather, a solid B fighter with A+ power. While that's still B+, he's now a C-fighter with a WBA welterweight title– that's blood in the water for an old shark like Manny. Because he's lost reflexive speed and torque, “The Machine” is hardly even PS2; Matthysse is now an older, stand-up video game starring Pac-Man, as he'll get gobbled up and butchered by the very last vestiges of a fighter impossible considers a friend. And because that's the case, he'd probably advise him to just be content being a legend, and to not quit his day job.