The shocking knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 has actually made Manny Pacquoao a much better fighter, the Filipino pride said in an interview that will be aired by HBO next week.
“I think I have become a better fighter since my last loss,” said Pacquiao in a runup to his monumental May 2 welterweight unification match with Floyd Mayweather.
Picking himself up from the deck in the third round after absorbing a mighty overhand Marquez right, Pacquiao was a punch or two away from stopping the Mexican when he rammed into a perfectly-timed counter in the dying seconds of the sixth stanza.
“The lesson I learned from my loss to Juan Manuel Marquez was patience. I got too over anxious when I had Marquez hurt…knockouts should never be forced,” said Pacquiao, who was out for about two minutes before being revived.
Since the Marquez debacle, Pacquiao has chosen to pick his shots, mindful that a split-second miscalculation or hesitation could send him to dreamland once again.
Pacquiao still possesses that devil-may-care attitude but has mellowed a bit as evidenced by his comeback wins over Brandon Rios, Tim Bradley and Chris Algieri.
Even lead trainer Freddie Roach concedes in the same program that Pacquiao has shown more maturity, and is smarter and less reckless compared to the old puncher who wanted to get the job done as quickly as he could.
Pacquiao, noted Roach, still remains on top of his game.
“Manny’s footwork and handspeed are still the best in the game,” Roach said.
Meanwhile, Mayweather remains focused in his Las Vegas training camp.
“A true champion can adapt to anything,” said Mayweather in his social media account.
Mayweather is a 2-1 favorite to keep his record unbeaten intact.
Courtesy of Nick Giongco of the Manila Bulletin. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickSpeaks