Pacquiao “illness” no cause for concern

Manny Pacquiao needs to put up a good performanace against Tim Bradley. (Getty Images)

There was some concern among boxing writers and genuine fans of "Fighter of the Decade" Manny Pacquiao when word got around that he was down with the flu in Los Angeles.

The concern stemmed from the fact that it was reported some two weeks before Pacquiao's crucial battle against a younger, undefeated world light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley who, by all accounts, was in superb physical condition.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, conscious perhaps of the need to help promote the fight as a legitimate test of Pacquiao's skills, following what many considered disappointing performances in his last two fights against Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez, visited Bradley during his media day open workout at the Indio Boys and Girls Club in California and gushed over how Bradley looked and how confident he was.

Arum said Bradley "looked sensational" and that he was "so confident that it's scary."

Put Arum's statement alongside reports of Pacquiao feeling under the weather followed by a report that while Manny looked terrific in sparring on Tuesday he didn't have a good day on Thursday when he went 12 rounds with three different sparring partners headed by rugged Russian welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov who was precisely brought in by Roach because he fought like Bradley, you could appreciate the concern.

Of course as Pacquiao's loyal adviser Michael Koncz pointed out to us in a telephone conversation from Los Angeles, there is a tendency to make something out of nothing and that all Pacquiao had was an upset stomach, nothing more nothing less.

Koncz advised not just us but the reading public to be a little more discerning when checking out dispatches on Pacquiao.

It's a given that Manny needs to put on a truly impressive performance against Bradley that will serve as an exclamation point as he moves forward to a possible megabuck fight with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. which the world wants to see.

Fight fans — and the international media most definitely — will look for Pacquiao to match or even surpass the excitement of Mayweather's battle with Miguel Cotto in which the consensus was, Mayweather looked good.

It may be worthwhile to compare their respective performances against common opponents although it surely will gladden the hearts of Pacquiao supporters because, head to head, Manny comes out on top.

Three years ago when  Cotto was probably more primed than he was against Mayweather, Pacquiao dropped him twice en route to a battering and a twelfth round stoppage.

Mayweather has often accused Pacquiao of beating up his leftovers. In the Cotto case that argument could be thrown right back at Floyd.

In the case of Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather eked out a split decision victory in a fight quite a few ringsiders, including some media colleagues, felt De La Hoya won.

A year and a half later Pacquiao pulverized De La Hoya and as one TV commentator so aptly put it "rearranged De La Hoya's pretty face" before "The Golden Boy" quit on his stool at the end of the seventh round.

Then there was Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton who Mayweather took ten rounds to put away. Pacquiao, admittedly some years later, annihilated Hatton, dropping him twice in the opening round and then separated him from his senses with a perfectly-timed left hook that sent the Brit crashing to the canvas in a heap with his legs quivering.

Comparisons are sometimes odious and the best way for Pacquiao to prove a point and increase public pressure on Mayweather to get it on, is to race across the ocean like the Pacific storm Larry Merchant referred to and destroy the "Desert Storm."