BEFORE RETIRING: Pacquiao should conquer welterweight division

By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

With Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s convincing victory against Keith “One Time” Thurman for the WBA Welterweight Championship, the Filipino slugger showed the world that he still has some gas left in the tank and compete at the highest level of boxing.

Pacquiao’s performance against Thurman showed improvements and new techniques that the boxing world has never seen before.

With new tricks up his sleeve, is this a sign that the Pacman is evolving?

Firstly, Pacquiao’s overhand punch is very unique and very new to his arsenal but he executed them regularly against Thurman, proving that he has mastered this weapon.

Normally, boxers would stand their ground to gather momentum for an overhand punch, but Pacquiao has a unique overhand. He comes forward, closes the distance, and throws the overhand which surprised Thurman numerous times.

Not known to be a counter-puncher, Pacman surprised most critics with his improved counter-punching, throwing a left jab or a right straight after Thurman’s punch.

Pacquiao,known for initiating the action, showed more patience in this bout. Waiting and reading the opponent’s punch before pulling the trigger, Pacquiao demonstrated a more measured approach at the age of 40.

MANNY Pacquiao is still capable of competing at the highest level, defying Father Time at age 40. (Stephanie Trapp of TGB)

Pacquiao also innovated a form of defense that is mostly seen in martial arts, the elbow defense.

Looking at the clips of Pacquiao’s fight, aside from using his gloves to deflect the punches, he raises his guards upward, uses his elbow to push-out the punch and throw what he can.

The defense enabled Pacman to throw a couple jabs after the push-out, which proved to be very crucial to his jab count.

With Pacman’s game still evolving, I think he can still compete in the stacked Welterweight division.

With numerous fighters making a splash in the division, this would be a tough test for Pacman’s legacy.

Errol Spence Jr., Terrence Crawford, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, and Thurman is still out there.

Should Pacquiao continue and show the world why he’s the best?