Manny Pacquiao: Thrashed on Twitter by Paul MalignaggiWritten by Leroy Cleveland
However, Manny Pacquiao hasn't scored a knockout since 2009 and some assert performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) - or lack thereof - is why.
The first stumbling block to making the megafight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather was Team Pacquiao's refusal to comply with Olympic style drug testing procedures.
After some back-and-forth bickering, the teams, in mid-2011, ultimately found themselves 10 days apart as Pacquiao agreed to the Olympic-style blood drug testing immediately after the fight, but no later than 24 days before the fight.
Pacquiao's team defended their stance asserting that full-scale Olympic-style testing would put him at a disadvantage because he's the smaller fighter and that it would take him three days to fully recover from the procedure.
But today, Team Pacquiao seemingly has no problem with drug testing... without prerequisites.
Prior to their April 2014 rematch, Pacquiao foe Tim Bradley told the media:
"Just to clear things up, Manny didn't care what testing we were doing," clarified Timothy Bradley."
"He was willing to do VADA or WADA, so there was no argument as far as the testing goes."
And Team Pacquiao insists they'd do the same for Floyd.
Despite his willingness to comply today, some are still incensed about the past and insist Manny's reputation was built as a result of his wrongdoing.
Enter former two division champion Paul Malignaggi.
"Pacquiao should have been the first to volunteer for those random tests when he was destroying people while constantly jumping weight classes."
"Instead he ducked and dodged them so no, until I see a destructive Pacquiao performance for a fight in which he submitted to random testing I will not give that credit."
"This sport needs to be take in the right direction and a guy with his popularity should have been the first one to set the example and volunteer for it. Instead he dodged it during a time when he shouldn't which leads anyone to wonder if that was the whole reason for his sky rocketing to fame in the first place."
"So don't ask me stupid questions or make stupid comments when I'm a fighter that can look in the mirror and know I did this sh*t clean. In an era where its become a problem because people wanna be fan boys instead of opening their f***ing eyes to the problem."
Do you think Manny is - or was - on PEDs?
One can certainly build a case for it, as Malignaggi has. However, the evidence isn’t quite indisputable.
In Pacquiao’s defense, he's looked nothing short of marvelous in his two most recent outings (Brandon Rios and Tim Bradley) and was performing well before getting overzealous and ultimately being put to sleep by a Juan Manuel Marquez humdinger in December 2012.
And keep in mind, Manny in 35 now and appears to be a kindler, gentler, busier person these days.
Couple his age and accomplishments with his frequent hints of retirement, work on behalf of the Catholic Church, his political pursuits and service as a Member of Congress as well as his singing career, acting and product endorsing, and the apparent lack of killer instinct is certainly understandable.
Moreover, we saw what happened when an aggressive Manny went for the KO against a tired, bloody and seemingly faded and desperate Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth meeting.
However, although still supremely skilled and physically capable, Pacquiao just doesn't seem to possess the same ring fierceness and explosiveness that helped spawn his destructive, meteoric rise - That is an inescapable truth.
Is PEDs the reason?
Could there be other reasons?
Share your thoughts.