In the hoopla surrounding the very public & at times crass & self-cannibalizing promotion of what could be
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao one can lose sight of the fact that these are two exceptional & era-defining boxing talents. Whether or not we see the big one on May 5, 2012 I commence a two part series chronicling both the Fighting Pride of The Philippines & the boxer formerly known as Pretty Boy Floyd.
I start my homage to these two talents with Manny Pacquiao for one simple reason – irrespective of ability, brilliance or any other metric of greatness – Pacman has plain & simply given more – more of himself; more of his blood, sweat & tears than has the self-proclaimed & self-styled mercenary of prize fighting, Money Mayweather. Now that is not to say that Mayweather has not offered up extreme amounts of “hard work & dedication” – it is simply that the absence of a comparably sizable body of work against elite competition renders his a talent whose impact was fed to us – lovers of the sport – in a very stop-start even painfully awkward manner.
Put simply & to borrow a phrase from one of Team Money‘s most high profile backers – Pacquiao is fully entitled to tell Floyd, “Homie, you ain’t been through what I been through.”
Manny Pacquiao, we note, holds notable wins over:
In his pomp Pacquiao was a violent pugilistic force of nature – a fighter whose spectacular talent & output catapulted him to both the status of clear-cut #1 fighter in the world & the periphery of the all-time Pound-for-Pound debate.
Pacquiao as the only eight-division world champion & the first fighter to win the lineal world title in four weight classes is clearly a boxer whose body of work can be described as historically significant. We do though live in an era of history with weight divisions calibrated by as little as 3lbs.
He picked up both The Ring and the BWAA“Fighter of the Year” award in 2006, 2008, and 2009. The latter makes him one of a select group of only 5 men who have picked up the accolade three times – along with no lesser names than (wait for it) Muhammed Ali; Joe Frazier; Sugar Ray Leonard & Evander Holyfield – & thus the only non-American to have been given the American’s boxing writer’s nod as fighter of the year 3 times.
His hatrick of The Ring Fighter of the Year Awards places him in a similarly elite grouping of the sport’s all-time greats with his 2009 win making him one of only 6 men to have won three or more times. Joe Louis; Rocky Marciano; Joe Frazier; Mohammed Ali; Evander Holyfield….& now Manny Pacquiao. Additionally PacMan is the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fighter of the Decade” for the first decade of the 21st century.
Stylistically – & though reflecting on a style that has morphed & evolved substantially under the tutelage of one
Freddie Roach – his is something of a super-charged & super-energized form of Ricky Hatton; that is not averse to mixing it up & yes being drawn into downright brawling if the situation calls for it. Such styles; ever refined versions thereof do not lend themselves well to longevity at the upper echelons of the most unforgiving of sporting disciplines. Then again; wasn’t the same true of Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez? Perhaps certain talents are able to transcend such logical impositions mere mortals find terminal hindrances.
At 33 years of age Manny has already outlasted his less skilled contemporary though going on the evidence of his last two trips to the squared circle Pacquiao’s most bombastic days of thunder are now likely to be behind him. Should that purported deterioration in skills show itself to be fact I’d hasten to add that irrespective whether or not we see the mega-fight of the decade Manny Pacquiao is a fighter whose claims to greatness are beyond reproach & whose contribution to the sport globally & as a standard bearer for the era dwarfs that of Money Mayweather.
Each to their own when it comes to the inevitably subjective endeavor of compiling an all-time pound-for-pound list – we all look for different characteristics, attributes & metrics indicative of true historic greatness – but for me; a fan who is admittedly more Hagler than Ray Leonard; Manny stands head & shoulders above Floyd Mayweather in any such list & will remain there regardless of the result of any future meeting…
Put simply; Pacquiao has given us more by fighting with the desire to win & not the fear of losing as his primary motivation.
Matt Hamilton, for ESNewsReporting!
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