Sunday, November 15, 2009

Boxing record holder Pacquiao is an avid chess player

MANNY Pacquiao, boxing's undisputed best pound-for-pound pugilist, registered an unprecedented 7 world boxing titles in as many weight classes when he blasted Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto to submission in the 12th round of their world welterweight championship match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, 14 November. Pacquiao's victory gave him Cotto's World Boxing Organization's welterweight title.

Pacquiao knocked down Cotto two times, one each in rounds 3 and 4. Pacquiao, the pride of the Philippines, won every round except the first and the fifth in another surprisingly dominating performance against a heavier, bigger and stronger opponent.

The Puerto Rican's corner was ready to throw in the towel after 11 rounds but the dethroned champion refused to quit but after sustaining more punishment in the final round the referee, Kenny Bayless, stepped in and stopped the carnage to protect Cotto, who was bloodied in the nose and mouth and cut in the brow, from further harm. The fight was dubbed "Firepower" which seemed to live up to it in the first 5 rounds, but from thereon it became a one-sided fight in favor of the Filipino champion.

The victory has cemented Pacquiao's claim as the best boxer in the planet. Together with his two-round demolition of England's Ricky Hatton, the former junior welterweight champion whose belt Pacquiao snared early this year, Pacquiao is a shoo-in again for ‘Fighter of the Year’ accolade. Similarly, his trainer Freddie Roach would be the undisputed ‘Trainer of the Year.’

Pacquiao is a multi-talented and physically gifted athlete who can sprint in the track oval, play basketball, and other physical games.

Before anyone think that this post is out of place, we would like to inform our readers that Pacquiao is an avid chess player. In between training sessions in the past, he used to play chess with his former promoter, the late Rod Nazario. Pacquiao admits that he, at times, applies principles of chess struggle in his boxing matches. This goes to show that the boxing champion's preparation and moves on top of the ring are well planned and thought out—skills derived from chess playing.

Consider the following:

During the 4th round at what still seemed a very close fight, Pacquiao put his back to the ropes, gloves up in a posture conveying a great dare, as he waited to take shots from his bigger rival.

"I wanted to test his power," said Pacquiao. "I heard that he is stronger than me."

His trainer and coach, Freddie Roach, yelled at him every time he used the high-risk ‘rope-a-dope tactic,’ "Why are you fighting his fight?" to which Pacquiao replied, "I can handle him!"

With his back to the ropes his rival Cotto freely banged his body which he pretended not getting hurt.

Fox News columnist Mark Kriegel observed Pacquiao "is also a daring, if underrated taking punishment with his back to the ropes, he had Cotto exactly where he wanted him."

Pacquiao explained "I was trying to control the fight," pointing to his temple, "in my mind."

Have the readers spotted any resemblance to chess struggle?

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