November 13, 2010

PACQING THEM IN:

Manny Pacquiao, Boxing's Biggest Star: Pacquiao is a worldwide phenom the U.S. is only now catching up to. On Saturday night he'll fight in front of 50,000 people at Cowboys Stadium. (Allen Barra, 11/12/10, Daily Beast)

Emmanuel Dapidran “Manny” Pacquiao (pronounced pak’ jau) is a phenomenon. Sportswriters have been hitting air trying to find comparisons between him and other great names in boxing history. They’ve failed because there really aren’t any to make. Pacquiao’s story is so incredible that, had it been a script, Sylvester Stallone would have rejected it. (Manny does, however, have a number of television shows under his belt, including Show Me Da Manny, a Filipino sitcom in which his mother appeared with him.)

Let’s start at the beginning. Pacquiao has come to mean so much to so many in so short a time that it’s easy to forget he would have been none of these had he not been a fighter first. He’s currently the WBO Welterweight Champion, which probably means nothing at all to you and so little to me that I’m not even going to look up what WBO stands for. (It’s one of those alphabet boxing groups that claims to have authority over the entire sport–there are at least five or six of them.)

Voted “Fighter of The Decade” by the Boxing Writers Association of America and three-times named “Fighter of The Year” by the BWAA and Ring magazine, he has won titles in seven different weight categories. He goes for number eight Saturday night against a pretty good Mexican-American fighter, Antonio Margarito, for the vacant junior middleweight title of the WBC. (I’m not going to look up that one, either.) By fight time, Margarito could outweigh Pacquiao by as much as 15 pounds–Pacquiao will probably step into the ring at around 150. Margarito will also have an advantage of several inches in height (Manny is just 5’ 7”) and reach, as have most of Manny’s opponents.

There is practically no one left in the lighter weight classifications for Pacquiao to test himself against, so of late he has been fighting bigger men. His record, 51-3-2 with 38 knockouts, sounds pretty impressive, but that’s only part of the story. Since walking into Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles nine years ago, he has lost only one fight, a close 12-round decision to Erik Morales, himself a three-time champion, in 2005. Since then, Pacquiao has been virtually invincible.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 13, 2010 12:02 AM
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