Much has been made about Manny Pacquiao and the perceived loss of his killer instinct. With his upcoming rematch with Timothy Bradley right around the corner, many see this as Pacquiao’s opportunity to prove that he’s just as determined as ever to finish opponents before the final bell. However, with Pacquiao’s last knockout coming against Miguel Cotto back in 2009, there is concern that the Filipino has a little too much compassion for his foes.
Timothy Bradley has been needling at Pacquiao that the man he defeated controversially in 2012 simply doesn’t possess the fire that he once had. Even though Pacquiao insists that he is still the killer he once was, someone close to him believes that the eight-division world champion has definitely changed.
Ryan Moore, director of the Pacquiao simply titled “Manny,” suggests that there is some truth in that theory. And considering that he’s spent the past five years filming Pacquiao both in and out of the ring, Moore seems like quite the reliable source.
“The first sign of Manny’s killer instinct dissolving was against Shane Mosley,” Moore explained to Knockout Nation. “When we were filming him and Mosley I saw the way they interacted and they are really nice people. So when he knocked Mosley down in the second round, it looked like he was ripe for the kill but he held back. That was a sign of Manny evolving as a human being.”
Moore says the shift is natural for a fighter who has spent 20 years as a professional. But it isn’t necessarily because Pacquiao isn’t as hungry as he once was. Rather, it has more to do with Pacquiao’s evolution from a fighter to a humanitarian who considers himself a servant to the people more than anything else.
“When you consider how blessed he feels, there’s only so much of that intensity in the ring that he can put out. When you become a family man and have kids, you mature emotionally,” Moore continues. “Before it was black and white: go and knock people out. Now you are carrying the hopes and dreams of 100 million people when you fight, and after the final bell rings you are serving them. Emotionally that does a lot to people.”
Moore won’t go as far to say that it has become a hinderance in the ring, but he does seem to agree to a certain degree with the criticism. He also says that the upcoming film actually documents Pacquiao’s shift in personality and will give viewers a better idea of when Pacquiao began to change.
“There was an event that occurred for sure after the third Marquez fight (that changed Manny) but there has been a gradual journey that has changed him from one of the most celebrated boxers to the humanitarian and public servant,” Moore says. “The turning point is included in the movie so you can get a better understanding what the big event was that changed him.”
Will it play a role in Saturday’s fight? Moore isn’t so sure because he believes that Pacquiao truly wants to please the fans more than anything else. And ff that leads to a knockout, so be it. But there is no doubt in Moore’s mind that Pacquiao’s growing responsibility to represent so many people both in and out of the ring has changed him.
“I think his dream of being a public servant took over right and he dove into that. What he didn’t do in the ring was represented by what was going on in his personal life.”