Manny Pacquiao is without question one of the greatest boxers of all time. His body of work spanning over two decades of excellence is legendary. From beginning his career as a scrawny flyweight to defeating Antonio Margarito for the Super Welterweight World Title, Pacquiao’s meteoric rise through eight weight divisions is well documented.
In many of Pacquiao’s spectacular performances, the prevalent theme has always been his speed and power. Featuring a thunderous left straight that has downed many opponents, Pacquiao was known as a devastating knockout puncher and a relentless storm of offense that opponents simply could not keep up with.
Although Pacquiao may seem like a wild puncher at times, however, there is a method to his madness. “Pacman” is as much a student of the game as any, and the science behind his favorite boxing techniques is simply amazing.
If you think you have a decent amount of speed, a boundless energy reservoir, and can throw punches in bunches, then perhaps you may be able to incorporate some of Pacquiao signature moves to your own style.
Let’s take a look at some of the Filipino icon’s most effective techniques and how you can execute them. Today, Evolve Daily shares five of Manny Pacquiao’s signature boxing techniques that you can add to your boxing game.
1) Manila Ice
Before Pacquiao stepped foot in legendary Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles, California, “Pacman” was known as an exciting, albeit one-dimensional fighter. The only weapon opponents feared from Pacquiao at the time was his fiery left hand, which although was immensely powerful, was also easily telegraphed.
At the highest levels of the sport, being an easy read for opponents was just not going to bring about success. Roach realized he had to transform Pacquiao into a two-fisted fighter in order to be successful, so he developed Pacquiao’s right hand, particularly the right hook and called it “Manila Ice”.
After endless repetition and drilling, Pacquiao finally added a vicious right hook to his repertoire. He debuted it in his epic rematch with Mexican great Erik “El Terrible” Morales in 2006. Morales had defeated Pacquiao a year before but had difficulty in dealing with Pacquiao brand new right hook in the rematch months later.
The result was a 10th round TKO in Pacquiao’s favor.
If you want to add “Manila Ice” to your repertoire, practice your counter lead hooks at your boxing gym. As your opponent is coming in with the jab, throw the hook over the top of it and aim for the temple or the chin for maximum effect.
2) Counter Check Hook
The counter lead hook isn’t the only counterpunch Pacquiao has up his sleeve. In fact, his counter left hook is even more powerful.
While Pacquiao isn’t the only boxer to have employed a check hook, the Filipino firebrand is among a few who have used it effectively. The check hook is a very sneaky counterpunch that opponents can’t see coming. When thrown with the right timing and torque, it can produce destructive results.
In his 2009 victory over former junior welterweight world champion Ricky “Hitman” Hatton, Pacquiao executed the check hook to perfection when he authored the single most shocking knockout of his career. As Hatton was coming in with a combination, Pacquiao feinted with the right hand to draw Hatton in and then uncorked a beautifully timed check hook right at Hatton’s jaw.
As soon as the punch connected, it was lights out for Hatton who was virtually unconscious before he hit the canvas. The referee didn’t even bother to count to ten and immediately signaled for a halt to the contest.
The counter check hook is a punch that can easily be added to your arsenal. Generally, the check hook is thrown as a counter to a forward-moving opponent. Practice the check hook on the heavy bag and in sparring to get it just right.
3) Double Jab Straight
For years, the double-jab-straight combination was Pacquiao’s bread-and-butter offensive maneuver. Before he became a two-fisted phenom, Pacquiao relied heavily on his left straight with delicious power.
Pacquiao loved to use the double, or sometimes even triple jab, to set up that monstrous left straight of his. It was so fast, that even though opponents knew it was coming, they had a very hard time defending against it regardless.
When Pacquiao met long-time rival Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico for the very first time in 2004, “Dinamita” was absolutely shocked and was ill-prepared for Pacquiao’s devastating left straight. Pacquiao knocked Marquez down three times in the first round as a result and nearly won the bout then and there. Had it not been for Marquez’ scientific genius, the bout would have been over in the first round.
Regardless, Pacquiao’s double-jab-straight combination is a worthy addition to your offensive game and is as basic a combination as any. It’s super easy to execute and is one of the very first combinations you will pick up and learn.
If your straight cross is your strongest punch, then this combination will serve you well.
4) Sidesteps and Angles
One very important aspect of Pacquiao’s boxing skills is his impressive footwork. The man moves his feet like no other in the ring, and it’s just a beauty to witness. It’s poetry in motion inside the boxing ring.
While Pacquiao’s footwork is far from textbook, his ability to sidestep around his opponents, away from the most powerful punches, with lightning quickness is unparalleled. He is a master at creating angles, winning the battle of foot placement, and generating power from different sorts of positions which opponents have difficulty defending against.
The prime examples of Pacquiao’s amazing footwork include his performance against Mexican legend Oscar De La Hoya in 2008 and his dominance of Antonio Margarito in 2010. Pacquiao moved effortlessly, dancing around his foes with a rhythmic aggression that is both frightening and technically sound.
It cannot be further stressed that by adding angles and great footwork to your game, you raise your quality as a boxer tenfold. Great footwork has a direct effect on every aspect of your skill set, from offense to defense. Attack from angles, and retreating to angles are advanced boxing techniques that require much practice.
Make sure to perform footwork-specific boxing drills each time you’re in the gym. Make a concerted effort to upgrade your footwork, and you’ll be dancing circles around your opponents in no time. Just like Pacquiao.
5) Double Cross Combination
Pacquiao loves to throw the left straight, but even if he doesn’t set it up with the jab, the Filipino has the ability to fire a cross directly from the hip. In fact, he is so fast, he can throw two of them in rapid succession.
Pacquiao throws the double cross combination with speed, power, and accuracy. Many of his opponents just don’t see it coming. When they expect Pacquiao to try to close the distance by jabbing his way in, that’s when Pacquiao uses the speed of his legs and the explosiveness of his cross to bridge the gap and land two clean straight punches.
When Pacquiao finally fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015, some of his best combinations and sequences involved the left straight. He even landed his patented double cross combination cleanly on Mayweather, who as good as a defensive tactician as he is, was unable to defend against it.
Kudos to Mayweather however for having a rock solid chin, taking Pacquiao’s power like a true champ. But any lesser man would have fallen, making the double cross combination a solid addition to your boxing arsenal.