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Manny Pacquiao and PEDs: What happened to the KO monster?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Manny Pacquiao recently reminded fans he's a small welterweight who has been defeating naturally bigger, rangier foes who can handle his power better than fighters in lower weight classes.

Despite looking sensational the past several years, Manny Pacquiao has failed to score a knockout post 2009. In fact, his last seven victories have come via decision and he's scored knockdowns in only 3 of his last 10 fights.

Some have hinted Pacquiao may have taken performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) on his dramatic rise to the top and that his suppossed drop in power is due to Manny's decision to stop taking them when stricter drug testing was enforced.

"Floyd would have fought Manny four years ago (in 2010) and would have beaten his a$$ if he had just agreed to take random drug testing," professed former world champion Paulie Malignaggi in December 2014.

"We all know how that went, and I personally think that's the reason why Manny was looking so strong at that time. I think now that they're doing the VADA random drug testing, Manny is still a good fighter but I just don't see the same kind of explosiveness."

"For the rest of us who have a clear head and are looking at things diplomatically, it's kind of hard because who the f**k grows as much as Pacquiao was growing after their 28th birthday? Nobody grows that much."

"Nobody will ever know for sure whether or not Manny was cheating back then because unfortunately he was avoiding random drug testing," stated the Showtime color commentator. "He was using every excuse in the book to avoid testing. That doesn't raise suspicion?"

But earlier this week, Pacquiao told ESPN Desportes:

''It is harder to knock out opponents in the 147-pound division. Because, in fact, my natural weight is 140 pounds and if I demand a little more of myself - I can get down to 135," said Pacquiao to ESPN Deportes.

Is that why Manny hasn't been a destroyer in the ring for quite some time?

Detractors will say Pacquiao, even at welterweight, knocked out a very durable Miguel Cotto in 2009, during a his rise to mainstream stardom.

Without mentioning Cotto, Freddie Roach addressed the issue last month.

"He's [Manny Pacquiao] not a big puncher at 147," Roach told FightHype.

"At 140, he's a better puncher. He didn't carry the punch up to 147lbs. He's not a big puncher at that weight division and he never will be."

It's not uncommon for a fighter who had been previously destructive in one weight class to move up a division or two and not be as destructive. Opponents in a higher weight classes are typically not only bigger and stronger, but longer.

Hence, a 5'6" fighter like Manny, on the average, can more easily land cleaner shots on an opponent his height or shorter than a well-schooled technician who is 2, 3 or 4 inches taller and with a longer reach.

Roberto Duran is a fine example of a great fighter who didn't carry his power north after exiting the lightweight division. Roy Jones, on the other hand, carried his power from middleweight to super middleweight but didn't quite have the same starch at light heavyweight.

Advocates for Manny will insist:

  • At 36, he floored a much bigger Chris Algieri six times in 2014
  • Let a very hurt Antonio Margarito off the hook
  • Joshua Clottey and Floyd Mayweather were overly defensive, and
  • Manny was on the verge of a knocking out Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth fight in 2012 before getting careless

Manny Pacquiao says he will knockout Tim Bradley in April. Will he?


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