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Q-and-A with Pacman author Gary Andrew Poole

On Pacquiao's place in history, the Mayweather question, and the fighter's posse
by Gelo Gonzales | Dec 8, 2011
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Much has been written about Manny Pacquiao. When you're the pound-for-pound king of boxing, a star whose glow reaches far beyond the four corners of the ring, that people talk about you naturally comes with the territory. [firstpara]
We've heard it all, already: Pacman the boxer, Pacman the politician, Pacman the ladies' man, Pacman the dole-out don.

The fighter's life is an open book, the details of whom we obsess over, be it the sordid facts of rumored illicit affairs, tales of a nasty blister that cost him a fight, and stories about his newest Ferrari.

Few works though regarding the fighting congressman have been as comprehensive as Gary Andrew Poole's Pacman: Behind-the-Scenes with Manny Pacquiao the Greatest Pound-for-pound Fighter in the World.

Published in 2010, the American journalist delved into Pacquiao's life to produce a book worthy of the fighter's stature as the best in the world. As Poole describes in his website,, he employed something he calls "journalism-by-hanging-around," interviewing not only Pacquiao, but those around him, from Coach Roach to the dozens of people who claim to have at least once, rubbed elbows with the fighter.

Poole hung out with Pacquiao, absorbed the distinct culture that surrounds him, and then squeezed all of that masterfully into one neat book. Sports Illustrated sums it up: "“Gary Andrew Poole’s excellent biography of boxing’s pound-for-pound kingpin is absolutely worth the read.”

We got to chat with the author recently about Pacquiao's controversial Marquez bout, and among other things, asked him how he'd manage the boxer's life. Check it out below.  

What do you think of Pacquiao’s last fight? Who do you think won?

Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Manny Pacquiao III was a close fight. Watching it on TV is different from seeing it in person, and fans need to keep that in mind. Sitting ringside, where you can really feel  the true power and see the impact of the punches,  I scored it a draw. 

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Yes, Pacquiao was off his game that night.  As any Filipino can tell you, he didn't go to Marquez's body and he kept moving left into Marquez's powerful right hand.

It was a bit surreal because Pacquiao had worked constantly on going right in training camp, but he couldn't seem to force himself into a better strategic position. Adding to the night's oddity, his corner seemed disorganized between rounds, and once again, Pacquiao suffered from leg cramps, which has been a constant nuisance for two or three fights now.

Since Pacquiao has dominated his opponents for several years, Pacquiao's performance and ailments invited questions about his age and his focus.

He didn't really seem like the Pacquiao were used to seeing, right? But I think it's too early to start writing Pacquiao's boxing obituary. First of all, he won the fight, according to the judges, and maybe Juan Manuel Marquez just has his number.   

Considering how good Pacquiao looked in training, I think it was merely an off night.  But the Fighting Congressman doesn't look as invincible as he once did.   

A significant portion of Filipino fans aren’t convinced that Pacquiao won the fight—a reaction which Manny chalked up to “crab mentality.” He also added that Filipinos should just be proud of the victory, close as the decision was. Being around the Filipino boxer, what can you say about his reaction?
Maybe the expectations are unrealistic.  The guy fights his heart out, wins a majority decision against one of the best boxer's in the world, gets booed, and many of his fans at home claim he lost the fight.  So he wins, but it's not good enough because he didn't dominate or do it with style. 

Manny puts his heart and soul into the ring.  It's a cliche but he does want to fight well for people, and--to a fault--he doesn't like disappointing his fans.  From his point of view, I can see why he would be upset and call it a "crab mentality," but when you are an extraordinary athlete and you only perform twice a year, people expect extraordinary things. He wasn't extraordinary on that night.

Seeing how Pacquiao struggles with technical fighters, how do you think would he fare against Mayweather, if it ever happens? Is the skill gap between the two too huge that Pac’s pressuring style won’t be able to overcome Mayweather’s deliberate methods?
That's a damn good question.  Will the Manny of the past show up, or the less focused fighter of Pacquiao-Marquez III? What's going through Manny's head after the Marquez fight? Can he work with an expert to solve his leg cramp issues? Are issues in his camp and personal life distracting him in the ring? I don't think the skill gap is huge. Manny will have difficulty with Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s technical abilities, which are extraordinary, but if he can use his speed to get inside he will be a danger to Mayweather who hasn't fought a super-quick opponent in years.  

NEXT: Pacquiao still a legend-in-the-making

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