The truth of the matter is, eight-division boxing world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is just an absolute physical specimen. His own unique blend of speed, power, athleticism, and toughness has been unparalleled in the sport over the last two decades.
It’s no doubt that all the time he spent in the boxing gym led him to become a living legend in the ring.
And while many other professional boxers have tried to reach the heights he has, not many have succeeded. It’s not just hard work that goes into his distinct fighting style. It’s also skill, and raw God-given talent.
Pacquiao’s style is very hard to emulate, and not everyone can pull it off. There are certain prerequisites to his techniques that normal people just don’t have.
A deep reservoir of stamina is one, one-punch knockout power is another, and to top it all off, Pacquiao is also a supremely-conditioned athlete. His agility and toughness between the ropes is the cherry on top.
For those who want to try and understand Pacquiao’s technique and style, we’ve taken the time to break down the Filipino fighting senator’s unmistakable characteristics in the ring.
Today, Evolve Daily shares five unique characteristics of Manny Pacquiao’s fighting style.
1) Punches in bunches
At one point, Pacquiao averaged over 100 punches a round in a 12-round fight. Do the math, and he ended up throwing over 1,200 punches over the course of nearly an hour-long bout. His ability to execute his offense with such volume has otherwise been rarely seen in the ring.
This unlimited stamina comes from supreme conditioning. Anyone who has ever trained alongside Pacquiao knows how insane his motor truly is. The man just doesn’t know when to stop, and his coach Freddie Roach has had to rein him in on a couple of occasions to prevent him from overtraining.
There was a time in Pacquiao’s career that he was considered a one-dimensional fighter. He possessed a devastating left hand, which became easy to anticipate as the level of opposition got tougher. When Pacquiao linked up with Roach, he became a two-handed fighter.
In his prime, Pacquiao’s combinations were diverse. He would unleash a bevy of hooks, straights, uppercuts, and off-angle punches to both the head and body, often coming in 5-6 punch combinations that his opponents just had difficulty dealing with due to the sheer volume. He would overwhelm anyone who dared step in the ring with him, with the exception of a handful of foes.
If you want to be like Pacquiao, you have to throw punches in bunches.
2) Speed kills
Perhaps the most well-documented of Pacquiao’s many physical attributes is his blazing-fast speed. There’s an old adage in boxing that says, “speed kills,” and Pacquiao has an abundance of it.
Pacman’s hand speed is otherworldly. By the time the guy he’s in the ring with is ready to throw a punch, Pacquiao has already tagged him with a couple of shots. His punches are blinding, and come from a variety of angles. Every shot is powerful, with the intent of stopping bouts instantly.
Without a doubt, the reason Pacquiao can connect on so many power punches is because of the speed he delivers them with. Speed is Pacquiao’s trademark characteristic.
But we’re not just talking about hand speed here, we’re also talking about foot speed. Pacquiao can get to virtually anywhere in the ring in an instant, using his tremendous speed. Opponents have cited his deceptive range as one of the most difficult to handle. Just when you think he’s slightly out of range and can’t catch you, he darts right in and connects on a punch you never saw coming.
3) Incredible footwork
Aside from the foot speed that Pacquiao has used to dazzle foes throughout his career, the Filipino boxing icon is also a maestro when it comes to gliding across the ring with incredible footwork. He’s able to use angles, sidestep, circle, and spin away from opponents with ease and fluidity.
He literally runs circles around his opponents at a pace they can’t quite keep up with. He swiftly enters range, unloads his combinations, and he’s out of the way before his opponents can come back with counters. Really the only way to defeat Pacquiao convincingly is to time his unique rhythm.
Mexican boxing legend Juan Manual Marquez, the only man to deliver a stunning one-punch knockout win over Pacquiao, needed four fights to get his timing down. The brilliant Floyd Mayweather Jr. figured Pacquiao’s movement style out mid-fight, which is a testament to his own greatness. Everyone else was left bewildered and confused in the ring.
During his incredible rise through the ranks, Pacquiao defeated everyone in front of him who showed inferior footwork. Footwork was Pacquiao’s key ingredient to success.
4) Inherent toughness
With the exception of a few bouts, Pacquiao has showcased incredible toughness with his rock solid chin throughout his career. He’s been through so many notable ring wars opposite guys like Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, and more.
In each of these fights, Pacquiao would often invite his opponents to get within range and test their power. Pacquiao tapping his gloves across his temples to bait foes into landing freely on his body was a common occurrence in every bout. He even did it against bigger men who packed more power.
Pacquiao’s willingness to go to war was both a strength and a weakness. But the more Pacquiao got hit in the ring, the more fired up he became.
Pacquiao was a boxer who didn’t mind getting hit in order to unleash his own combinations. And if an opponent stepped into the pocket with him, they weren’t getting out without tasting his power.
5) Varied attack
Far from his one-dimensional self in the early days of his career, Pacquiao transformed his style from fearless brawler to methodical boxer-puncher. He diversified his combinations by adding a powerful right hook, aptly named “Manila Ice” to neutralize his opponents with a two-fisted attack.
Pacquiao’s varied attack made it difficult for opponents to get a read on his rhythm. His assortment of offensive weapons was like walking through a minefield for anyone brave enough to step in the ring with him.
In his 2010 bout against Mexican bad boy Antonio Margarito, Pacquiao uncovered his complete arsenal of head and body attacks, punishing the “Tijuana Tornado” with a plethora of power punches that left the much bigger man battered and bruised after 12 rounds.
In Pacquiao’s 2009 conquest of Ricky Hatton, right hands flustered and dropped “The Hitman” on two occasions. Although a single left hand separated Hatton from his senses in the second round, the shot was set up perfectly with a diverse offensive game plan that Hatton simply could not decipher.
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