Prediction for tonight’s fight: Pacquiao to win a one-sided fight on points, or by late TKO - unless he gets robbed again. #MannyPacquiao— Barry Graham (@BazNoir)April 12, 2014
I was right in my prediction for the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley fight last night. This is the second time Pacquiao has done it, but the last time two of the judges outrageously gave the decision to Bradley.
This Guardian article, along with several others I’ve read, trumpets that Pacquiao has returned to “vintage form.” But he hasn’t. His steady decline is continuing.
Pacquiao was once a fearsome puncher. Punching power is the last thing a fighter loses with age. But Pacquaio hasn’t stopped any opponent since he gave Miguel Cotto a horrifying beating in 2009 (that fight went almost 12 rounds, but should have been stopped in the first third). All but one of the eight fights he’s had since then - against opponents of varying quality - have gone the distance. The exception was when Juan Manuel Marquez knocked him out in the sixth round.
Pacquiao was a great fighter. Bradley is a good fighter, but no more than that, and he’s a light puncher; only 12 of his 31 wins have been inside the distance. Once upon a time, Pacquiao would have walked through him. He has twice been unable to put him away.
It was good to see Pacquiao win this fight, especially after being robbed in his last encounter with Bradley, but to call it a return to form is wishful, almost magical, thinking. In actuality, Pacquiao is washed up, and ought to retire, or, if his ego doesn’t allow that, to keep fighting run-of-the-mill opponents. Another fight with Marquez would be a bad idea, and a fight with Floyd Mayweather would be a dreadful one. I think Pacquiao at his best would have beaten Mayweather, and I think Mayweather thinks so too, which is why he’s been ducking Pacquaio for years. But the Pacquiao who fought last night could reasonably hope for little more than not to get badly hurt by an on-form Mayweather.
I’ve been rereading some of Orwell’s essays. When I was young I went from near-worship of Orwell to starting to see his flaws. When I read him nowadays, it seems as though all I see are the flaws… and yet I love him as much as I ever did.
I was struck by his classism in the essay "Raffles and Miss Blandish."
Arguing that hard-boiled, morally-ambivalent fiction is fascistic, Orwell claims:
People worship power in the form in which they are able to understand it. A twelve-year-old boy worships Jack Dempsey. An adolescent in a Glasgow slum worships Al Capone. An aspiring pupil at a business college worships Lord Nuffield. A New Statesman reader worships Stalin.
As someone who comes from a Glasgow slum, I laugh sadly when I read this. Here is what Orwell doesn’t understand: In the same way that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, powerlessness also corrupts, and absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely.
Orwell concludes the essay by praising, in so many words, snobbishness and hypocrisy. He shows his own snobbishness in his view that, while it’s good and proper for “serious” fiction to be morally ambivalent, “popular” fiction should be morally black and white, presumably so that we barbarians from Glasgow slums won’t become fascists.