Manny Pacquiao facing off with Tim Bradley in Las Vegas (Photo: Naoki Fukuda)
By Chris Robinson
When it comes to straightforward boxing talk, respected trainer and former contender Ronnie Shields is one of the best.
I spoke with Shields recently about various subjects, including his stable of fighters out of his Houston hotbed, most notably interim WBA junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara, who faces off with Canelo Alvarez on July 12 in Las Vegas.
As our conversation wrapped up, Shields weighed in on Manny Pacquiao’s revenge victory over Tim Bradley, who he defeated via unanimous decision on April 12 in a big rematch.
Pacquiao fought a very solid fight vs. Bradley, picking up serious momentum as the match reached the midway point before controlling the second half of the action.
“I think Manny showed he lost a step or two but he did what he had to do to win,” Shield said of the eight-division titlist. “Bradley, you could see he hurt his leg in like the fifth or sixth round. He fought the best fight he could possibly fight. He’s a warrior and he did the best he could.
“Manny’s Manny,” Shields added. “He throws punches from every angle, from all over the place. He couldn’t get Bradley out of there. Bradley is a tough, strong, young guy. I picked Pacquiao to win and he did win and the rest is history.”
Now 35 years old and still restoring the luster that was knocked from his career following his devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao may not be the same ferocious tyrant who ran up boxing’s weight ladder with frightening success five years back, yet he is still extremely capable, claims Shields.
“A few years ago, to me, he was the best fighter in the world,” Shields explained. “But now he’s not; Floyd Mayweather is. I still think Manny is getting older now and his punches aren’t as crisp as they were before. He’s getting hit more. It’s just a sign that the end is coming.
“But he has a lot of experience, he still trains hard, so just as long as he got the desire, he’s going to continue,” Shields noted. “And there’s still a lot of guys he can beat out there.”
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Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com