Manny Pacquiao is my favourite fighter of not just this era but of any era. While you read this article please respect it’s just my view and my opinion of the truly sensational Filipino superstar.
Ladies and gentlemen I give you eight division world champion…..Manny Pacquaio.
Manny Pacquiao will go down in history not just for his achievements inside the ring but as a man and an idol to millions of Filipinos and fans all over the world.
Like a lot of fighters Manny never had it easy as a boy, in fact he had it worse than most at such an early age.
But like most great fighters it’s where their hunger stems from, it’s the start of everything that defines them.
We hear stories from the Philippines that whilst the crime rate is normally high, when the Filipino icon fights it subsides to almost zero; it’s like the the whole country comes to a stand still. A sixty minute period where ninety million people are praying that their hero prevails once more.
Pacquiao has transcended boxing, become bigger than the sport as a whole. Despite his undoubted success he has an underlying ambition to give back. Since late 2009 becoming a member of Congress and with ambitions to one day become President of the Philippines.
His professional debut came in the Philippines back in January 1995 when he won a four round decision against Edmund Ignacio.
He then went on an unbeaten streak of eleven fights before coming up against Rustico Torrecampo, a fellow Filipino who stopped Pacquiao dead in his tracks within three rounds.
This was a set back, a small set back on the scale of his career as a whole but at the time it certainly wasn’t in the script. Manny had to get on with it, racking up victories and again going on an unbeaten run.
Disappointment wasn’t too far away again however. Having earlier won the WBC flyweight title, he then came up against an unbeaten fighter in Medgoen Singsurat with a record 18-0. A third round technical knock out was registered to the history books and again, Manny was resigned to defeat.
Pacquiao jumped up a couple of weight divisions to super bantamweight and went on the hunt for another title.
During this time he beat decent opposition in Nedal Hussein and Wethya Sakmuangklang before another defining moment came against Lehlo Ledwaba for the IBF super bantamweight title.
Dismantling Ledwaba in six brutal rounds, Pacquiao took this fight with only two weeks notice and as such was starting to capture some serious attention.
Two years had passed and the relentless champion had continued to rack up victories. Then came a defining moment in the career of “Pac Man” as he squared off against Mexican great Marco Antonio Barerra.
Barrera at the time was one of the very best in the world; he had dispatched of Nassem Hamed, followed by two classics against Erik Morales.
Pacquiao was up against it and the odds reflected that. Barrera was something new for Manny, he simply hadn’t been in the ring with someone this great before.
Pacquiao stopped Barerra in the eleventh round with Barrera’s corner waving the white flag to signal they had seen enough, enough of their man taking that type of punishment.
From then on boxing would not be the same again for Manny Pacquiao. Every fight would be against a tough opponent, every fight would be a huge occasion, boxing now had become Manny’s stage.
Juan Manuel Marquez was next for the featherweight WBA and IBF world titles, this was the start of one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport.
Marquez – Pacquiao 1 was a brilliant fight from the first bell, with Pacquiao knocking Marquez down three times in the first round. Marquez however fought back and took Pacquiao twelve hard rounds.
The end result though was maybe bitter sweet for most boxing fans. We got some answers but not enough of them. We all enjoyed the spectacle but the outcome left us wanting more, we would wait four years for the rematch.
The fights would come thick and fast, again it was a big one, next up was Erik Morales and like Barrera, Morales was at the top.
This time Manny didn’t have it all his own way and would lose a close decision in a great fight.
Ten months later the Filipino champion would have his rematch with Morales and this time he was the one who got the victory. A tenth round stoppage over the Mexican great, they would fight one more time with Manny making even easier work stopping him in three.
Pacquiao would beat Barrera again by decision before facing off for a second time against Juan Manuel Marquez, this time for the WBC super featherweight title.
Starting fast knocking Marquez down in the first round, the action was back and forth for twelve solid rounds. The fight was again close but it was Pacquiao who got the nod and won by a split decision.
After Pacquiao took care of David Diaz for the WBC lightweight title he stepped up another two weight classes to fight the ‘Golden Boy’ Oscar De La Hoya at welterweight.
Some would say perhaps this was a weight too far for Manny and De La Hoya was simply too big.
Pacquiao is no ordinary fighter, with his footwork and angles he would surely give Oscar problems, we didn’t realise just how great Pacquaio would be on the night.
He gave Oscar all sorts of problems from the off, too much speed and angles would give De La Hoya his worst beating of his career, retiring on his stool.
His next opponent would be against fan favourite Ricky Hatton, a fight nobody would ever forget.
Stylistically Hatton versus Pacquiao was a potential classic, what we seen that night in May would shock the boxing world.
Knocking Hatton down twice in the first round, Hatton was saved by the bell. The second round was just as emphatic with Pacquiao landing a devastating left that would knock Hatton out cold. This would always be remembered as Pacquiao’s finest punch.
Miguel Cotto awaited next for Pacquaio, holding the WBO welterweight title.
Cotto was a force and has had a great career, he was strong and hit hard so this would be a difficult match up for Pacquiao, a 50-50 type fight.
In reality what we witnessed were knock downs, cuts and abrasions. Pacquiao had completely overwhelmed Cotto and had undoubtedly changed the Puerto Rican banger forever.
With such success comes iconic adulation and as such being pencilled in as pound-for-pound number one.
Defeats of an over matched Joshua Clottey and a devastating beating of Mexican warror Antonio Margarito for a vacant WBC 154 pound title at a catch weight, reaffirmed Pacquiao’s status at the pinnacle of the sport.
Victories against two first ballot Hall of Famers Juan Manuel Marquez and Sugar Shane Mosley followed before a decision which cast a dark shadow over the boxing fraternity on June 9th 2012.
Unbeaten American Timothy Bradley, was as good as any welterweight around at the time.
Pacquiao – Bradley would go on to be seen as one of the worst judging decisions in history. Bradley had beaten Pacquiao by a split decision, God only knows how.
He would dominate the fight with combinations and movement; the result had little meaning in the sport and people quickly forgot Bradley had defeated the Filipino champion.
Manny would face Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time in his next fight. Their prior trilogy had been quite simply a great series of fights and that fourth showcase would not let anybody down.
The fight would later receive accolades of ‘Fight of the Year’, ‘Knockout of the Year’ and ‘Round of the Year’.
Both fighters entered round six in differing conditions; Pacquiao pushed harder, while Marquez was tired and being caught continually.
It would be a counter dynamite right hand in the final seconds of the round by the Mexican legend which landed and knocked Pacquiao out cold.
Roy jones will always stick in my head, not for his amazing boxing over the years but for the words ‘He’s not getting up Jim! He’s not getting up Jim! He’s not getting up Jim!”
It was a moment that we thought would never happen – especially in that manner.
Pacquiao would take a year out of the sport, maybe the time was needed after such a huge and concussive defeat. Many wars and so many fights may have caught up with him and the break was very much needed.
At this time Manny Pacquiao would become deeply involved in Parliament, some say this was a distraction.
November 23rd 2013, a year after his defeat, Pacquiao would return to the ring to fight the hard hitting Brandon Rios.
Rios could not handle Manny’s speed and movement and this fight would be as one sided as a fight could be. Pacquaio won every round, the crowd was entertained and PacMan was back!
People began to wonder how much Manny potentially had left. A unanimous decision return victory against previous foe Timothy Bradley answered those critics in dominant fashion.
Pacquiao looked great against Bradley, Bradley was at this point number three pound-for-pound in the world.
A dominant twelve round destruction of unbeaten champion Chris Algieri last night just adds to Pacquiao’s esteemed legacy. Six knock downs and a shut out victory showed there is plenty still left in the gas tank of the thirty-five year old.
We could type up so many great accomplishments and achievements that Manny Pacquiao has gained in the sport, but that isn’t needed.
From the hard times in the Philippines to the Las Vegas strip, one thing we can say is that Pacquiao is an all time great and a once in a life time fighter.
Let’s all celebrate this great person and remember what he has achieved as a man and as a legend of the sport.