Over the years and in the course of his famed and fabled boxing career, Manny Pacquiao has been known to possess a lethal left.
Matter of fact, that left – whether straight or hook – has already sent many into dreamland.
It will again be his main and, without a doubt, best weapon against Floyd Mayweather Jr who he will engage in the most anticipated fight in more than 3 decades on Sunday, May 3 (Manila time).
Trainer Freddie Roach was reported to have hardened Pacquiao to throw those lefts more often and with the meanest force.
But I do not think he has exclusively conditioned Pacquiao to forget that the Filipino boxing superstar also has a lethal right hand.
While most everybody know Pacquiao is a southpaw, he is ambidextrous too. He writes and eats with his right hand, something very few people can do.
In basketball, one is trained to shoot with both hands.
But in boxing, the norm is to use the weaker to set up the favored and stronger hand.
Roach began forcing Pacquiao to use his right hand after suffering a decisive defeat against Erik Morales.
Pacquiao went head hunting against Morales with his left. He paid dearly with the strategy that did not work against a boxer of Morales’ caliber.
It also didn’t suit with Juan Manuel Marquez during their first fight with whom Pacquiao had the difficulty most.
When Pacquiao “rediscovered” his right hand, he went into a phenomenal tear.
Pacquiao’s right hand is one of his most underrated arsenals apart from his often overlooked defense.
It was his right that finally sent David Diaz to the canvass in winning the lightweight crown en route to breaking through the barrier of the elite company of 5-division world boxing champions. (His win over Marco Antonio Barrera was for the lineal featherweight title after capturing the regular flyweight, super bantamweight, super featherweight boxing crowns)
Against, Ricky Hatton, it was his right hook that sent the brash Briton to the canvass for the first time in the second round. Less than two minutes later, Hatton fell like a timber from a left straight thrown with the full weight of the Filipino’s waist and hips.
It was his right hand that repeatedly rocked and did equal damage to Oscar de la Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito who were all wary of his vaunted left coming into the fight.
It would be a disaster if Pacquiao again fell in love with his left hand after a painful lesson from the Morales loss – the only defeat in his career in which he was totally outclassed.
Against the shoulder roll defense of Mayweather, right hooks to the face and the side of the body could open up and lure Mayweather into the center of the ring where both their foot and hand speeds will be tested.
Pacquiao cannot afford to be predictable with his left against Mayweather whose greatest strength is the ability to read and anticipate punches although admittedly, the direction and trajectory of Pacquiao’s punches will test that tactical strength of the American.
Pacquiao needs angles to launch his two-fisted attack.
And the right hand is the other pair of that arsenal.
Who says he is all left?
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