Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I just had a chance to watch Manny (Pac-Man) Pacquiao kayo Erik (el Terrible) Morales to win bragging rights as the best 130 lb. fighter in the world. Pacquiao, who already enjoys the status of "Muhammad Ali, Elvis and Bruce Lee" combined in the Philippines (to quote Larry Merchant), will only get bigger after beating down Morales. Brilliant stuff. Morales had never been down in more than 40 professional fights, and he'd outpointed Pacquiao cleverly in their first meeting about a year ago. This time, though, Pacquiao was just unstoppable, mainly due a stunning workrate. Every time it looked like Morales was going to be able to use his superior balance and boxing skills to take control, Manny would swarm him with combinations. In the end, Pac-Man didn't so much knock out as wear out the Mexican with the iron beard. There will be a lot of money in the rubber match (with 2 out of 3 bragging rights on the line) but I think Morales should hang on to his remaining brain cells instead. He's crossing that line where, despite how amazing he has been, he's been hit in the head too many times--especially due to his crowd-pleasing, take-one-to-give-one Mexican machismo.