By NICK GIONGCO
LOS ANGELES — Manny Pacquiao has a solid explanation why he hasn’t been sending his opponents to the floor like they were toys.
“I am naturally small for a welterweight,” said Pacquiao on Monday after scoring a rousing victory over Tim Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas over the weekend.
The win over Bradley was Pacquiao’s sixth straight that went the full route and it has been a long while since November 2009 has scored a stoppage against Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.
“I had just fought as a lightweight (135 lbs) when I fought Oscar Dela Hoya in a welterweight (147 lbs) fight (in December 2008).”
Since sending the Golden Boy into retirement after the landmark win, Pacquiao has campaigned just once at super-lightweight (140 lbs) against Ricky Hatton of England, spent most of his time fighting at welter and once even fought at super-welterweight (154 lbs) against Antonio Margarito of Mexico.
Pacquiao, who turned 35 last December, said he can even make lightweight if he wants to although his ideal and most comfortable weight is at super-lightweight.
The problem is that all the big guns are not at 135 and 140 lbs but at 147 lbs, forcing Pacquiao to maintain that fighting weight so he can figure in all the marquee matches being made in that weight class.
Still, it is incredible that Pacquao, who started put as a light-flyweight (108 lbs) in 1995, has actually succeeded in campaigning in the heavier ranks.
Pacquiao became a world champion at flyweight (112 lbs) in December 1998 and owing to weight problems, he even skipped two weight classes and decided to fight at super-bantam (122 lbs) after losing the world title in 1999.
Pacquiao made two defenses at 122, drawing with Agapito Sanchez of the Dominican Republic and knocking out Jorge Julio of Colombia and Emmanuel Lucero of Mexico before meeting another Mexican, the great Marco Antonio Barrera at featherweight (126 lbs).
After dismantling Barrera, Pacquiao took on Juan Manuel Marquez, also of Mexico, and they battled to a thrilling draw.
In 2006, Pacquiao tried to invade the super-feather (130 lbs) ranks and was spoiled by Erik Morales of Mexico but got back at him in the rematch and in the rubber match.
Pacquiao then beat up Jorge Solis of Mexico in April 2007 and defeated Barrera again in a rematch in October of the same year before the breakthrough year of 2008.
Before facing the Golden Boy, Pacquiao scored a split decision win over Marquez in a super-feather clash and made his debut at lightweight (135 lbs) by halting David Diaz.
Pacquiao was a huge underdog versus Dela Hoya but he made heads turn in forcing him to quit on his stool.
But Pacquiao insists it doesn’t mean his punches have lost their sting.