OPINION: Pacquiao fights against old age, distractions

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Despite the fact that Filipino ring icon and former eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KO’s) had already faced opponent Timothy “The Desert Storm” Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KO’s) twice before — beating the American in a rematch as well as losing a split decision in the first fight, defeat is not out of the question for the people’s champ.

Pacquiao, 37, is a 21-year professional competing in his 66th bout in a career that began well before he made his professional debut in 1995 against Edmund Ignacio. He’s coming off surgery on his torn right rotator cuff, an injury that has kept him out of the ring for nearly a year and he’s also a congressman, running for a seat in the Philippine senate, which is no easy task by any means.

Read: Viloria: Pacquiao motivated me in big fights

In the past, Pacquiao utilized his laser focus and dedication to the sport to blast through various obstacles which were thought to be heavy impediments to his performance. At this stage in his career however, it could prove difficult for the fighting politician to overcome these obstacles as compared to when he was younger.

Suffice to say, despite Pacquiao’s legendary work ethic, he’s battling against a number of factors — not the least of which is Father Time, who until this day remains undefeated.

It’s no secret that in boxing, fighters ‘turn old’ overnight and despite great training camps, just somehow are unable to perform when it matters most.

Read: Crawford next for Pacquiao?

When Pacquiao decisioned Bradley two years ago in a rematch of the first bout, he did so thoroughly and methodically. But that was two years ago, and Pacquiao is reeling from a loss to long-time rival Floyd Mayweather last May. He’s now two years older, and with a lot more mileage.

They say the sport of boxing is a young man’s game, so to say Pacquiao can handle Bradley a third time with ease because he did so before is really not a well-based opinion.

It will take a monstrous effort from Pacquiao — which he is of course highly capable of, no doubt — to offset a surging Bradley.

Bradley however just came off knocking out the previously unstopped Brandon Rios who Pacquiao himself failed to stop a few years back.

Read: Pacquiao will train in the Philippines for Bradley

Not only that, but Bradley also hired new trainer Teddy Atlas recently. Although an old boxing adage says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, the change of pace and personnel has brought the best out of Bradley and he’s looking like a new man.

But despite the odds, we can’t really count out Pacquiao.

If there’s anyone who could overcome all the odds against him, it’s the Filipino legend, who has proven time and again that what he brings to the table is almost always enough.

Read: Pacquiao trainer: We’ll be ready for whatever Bradley brings

However when Pacquiao climbs into the ring against Bradley on April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, he’ll be battling against ring rust, post-surgery complications, preoccupation with Philippine politics and old age.

Whoever shows up on fight night — whether the ‘old Manny Pacquiao’, or just ‘an old Manny Pacquiao’ — will ultimately determine the outcome.

Nevertheless, Pacquiao will have to maintain laser focus to thwart Bradley who will look to end his career on a sour note. – By Carlos Miguel Cinco

Read: Bradley: I will be well-prepared for Pacquiao