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Manny Pacquiao Has “The Look”
By Martin Wade (May 7, 2004) 
Manny Pacquiao - Photo © J.P. Yim
We all know the look, brows furrowed, eyes that tell of poverty and the intent to bring malice. Its forebears are men of menace, men from places like the Mississippi Delta and Panama. There is no pretense in a man who has the look, to them there is no plan B, to them “B” is for brutality. This look is neither the cool reserve of the stylist nor the gunslinger confidence of the athlete. Men with “the look” punch through the target with every intention of vaporizing any boxer willing to stand in with him. Manny Pacquiao is such a man; on the brink of featherweight stardom he represents a glorious tradition as a fighter that old timers reverentially refer to as “an animal”.

Since father time laid claim to Roberto Duran and Mike Tyson succumbed to personal demons the role of boxing’s “animal” has become dormant. Fans wanted badly for the brash Ricardo Mayorga to be that angry man with “the look”. Ricardo’s power, crude demeanor and Latin machismo drew comparison to Duran, but only to the naked eye. Manny Pacquiao is more appropriate to walk in Duran’s shoes; his ability to combine ferocity with deceptive craftiness was a Duran trademark. Pacquiao’s speed, balance and compact punches allow him to birth dazzling combinations overwhelming opponents who try to mount a resistance. Manny Pacquiao is so sure of his ability to conquer the best at 126-130 that he’s laid down the gauntlet to the great Mexican warriors (Marquez and Morales) without a hint of reservation. His pledge to gain supremacy over the great Mexican fighters (beginning on Cinco De Mayo weekend!) is either a sign of lunacy or the stuff of legend.

Manny Pacquiao is without question boxing’s “hungry” fighter, but the Filipino is facing an equally hungry man in Juan Manuel Marquez. Both men are the genuine articles inside the ring; both men enjoy advantages that make this fight a “pick em”. But what if you were not a knowledgeable boxing fan and did not know of Marquez’s long road to this fight or his razor sharp counterpunching. Who would you pick? Given all things being equal. Most people would take one look at Pacquiao and sense the little mans danger, “give me the one with the look,” they would say.

Make no mistake, “the look” has been around since the bare-knuckle days and Manny Paquiao is the latest to wear the mask of terror. Manny’s look is not that of the depression era immigrant fighter, yet just as desperate to make his mark. Manny’s look is not the sullen “you don’t know blues like I know blues” look of Sonny Liston, yet to employ his style implies a certain brand of rage. Manny’s look does not resemble the fiery Volatility that a young Duran wore; yet his purpose is one and the same. Manny Pacquiao’s look is almost gleeful, like a toddler about to lay waste to an immaculate room. Manny’s open camp is far from a distraction; he openly courts fans and goes about his work with an impish delight in his own kinetic aggression. Manny Pacquiao has the look of a man who knows what he is capable of and the scales say he’s been prepared to unleash his aggression for a week now.

I for one will be witnessing the clash at a Cinco De Mayo party, fully equipped with a tall Margarita. I’ve picked Marquez by late stoppage, but one look into the dark pools of Pacquiao is enough to make me hedge. If somehow Pacquiao proves me wrong and puts on a performance similar to his destruction of Barrera I wont be surprised. I’ll just take another sip of my drink and say, “what the hell, look at the guy, he’s a freaking animal”.

The War Within

To me the war within will be between Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao. Roach will have to be a true jockey and harness the Pacman’s aggression, dictating pace without giving the classy Mexican opportunity’s to exploit Pacquiao’s greed. Roach made it clear to media earlier in the week that he wanted to show angles and create exchanges in which Marquez is the fighter taking the lead.

Until the next “Jones” The boxing junkie.

Questions or comments,
Martin Wade:
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