He is the only Asian 8th division world champion, who at the start of his career, was vastly underestimated by American and Mexican counterparts due to his being an Asian and his diminutive form. For a few times, Floyd Mayweather called Pacquiao a midget.

Davao Today

“What a fight!” Bob Arum, top rank promoter, was heard having repeatedly said this to media and friends an hour after Manny Pacquiao lost to Juan Manuel Marquez.

Wow! What a fight between two of the top ten pound-for-pound boxers of the world today!  They showed their skills, speed, strength, power, footwork, combinations of punches, the heart and intelligence. These are the things often heard from fellow boxers, boxing world champions, former world champions, boxing trainers, boxing enthusiast, analysts and scribers, during and after the fight. Wow! It was rare to see this kind of a boxing fight.  They gave their very best!

The MGM grand arena was full packed, December 8 (December 9 in the Philippines).  Thousands watched the scheduled fight between Pacquiao and Marquez.  The crowd was teeming with Filipinos, Mexicans, Americans and from other nationalities who were screaming, excited, and shouting in support of their idol boxer.

The world also watched, especially here in the country and in Mexico.  It was rare: the whole world stopped to watch a boxing fight.  In the last few decades, it was the fights of Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson for the heavyweight division and Oscar dela Hoya at the lightweight and welterweight division that captured the public’s fascination.

When he knocked out Antonio Barrera of Mexico in 2003, Manny secured not only the featherweight belt championship, but he also earned a niche in the hearts and eyes of fans and people in the boxing world.  He conquered various boxing divisions with a string of stunning victories as he defeated Eric Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton, Oscar dela Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.  He was proclaimed the only 8th division champion of the world in boxing.

For his trainer, Freddy Roach, Manny Pacquiao is that rare boxer, his form seldom seen in the last 30 to 50 years.  We should be happy that we have this boxing gift in our midst, one who has the innate speed and power in boxing.

He is the only Asian 8th division world champion, who at the start of his career, was vastly underestimated by American and Mexican counterparts due to his being an Asian and his diminutive form.  For a few times, Floyd Mayweather called Pacquiao a midget.

But Manny Pacquiao is not perfect.  His moves are sometimes awkward; oftentimes he gets criticized for being a one-track minded boxer, predictable, his actions flawed and always offensive, not defensive.  Pacquiao is a fighter, not just a boxer, who electrifies his audience with his own explosiveness, daringness, quickness and his offensive-mindedness — a rarity in his field.  His number of fans had swelled through the years because he carries it in himself to always give the audience good fights.  It was not really just for himself.

Other exemplary boxers who are also top pound-for-pound boxers are not like Manny.  They tend to put themselves first, their style defensive, they wait while they get the attack; often the fight gets to be tedious and boring for the audience.

In Pacquiao’s fights, he initiates the sparring and makes the sport of boxing awesome for its audience.

In the boxing sport, aging boxers normally lessen the intensity of their fights because of obvious physical reasons.  This we have seen in the last three of Pacquiao’s fights, starting off with his duel with Shane Mosley.  Many commented about this, especially from anti-Pacquaio fans or from the pacheaters.

In this fourth bout with Marquez, Pacquiao showed the same intensity.  He had vowed to show the moves that he had when he was 26.  It was true.  He showed a good fight that electrified the huge crowd.  He was the one who initiated the fight.  Even if he fell during the third round because of an erroneous move, he readily reversed this and dominated the fight as can be seen in the compubox statistics.  But in boxing, if you err just slightly, either you get to knock-out or you get knocked out.  In one careless move because he wanted to finish off Marquez in that round, he himself got KO-ed.

In the post-fight interview, Marquez said, “After I knocked him down the first time, I know that I have to be patient because with one punch, Manny could knock me out.”

In his post-fight interview, Pacquiao said: “He got me a good shot.  But that’s part of boxing.  Sometimes we got hit.

Marquez studied Pacquiao’s style through the years, he waited for that moment as he trained vigorously, and he got that shot from Pacquiao.

Despite the knock-out loss from Marquez, Pacquaio got the huge respect from around the world.  Few days before the fight, Roy Jones Jr, former No.1 pound-for-pound boxer and now HBO commentator said, I take my hats off to Manny Pacquaio because he still gave Marquez the chance to fight for the fourth time.

Because Pacquiao had a hard time in dealing with a style as that of a counterpuncher like Marquez, he had to accede to the fight even if he could have looked for other opponent because this was what many of his fans waited for, this was what the promotion needed, and because this was what Marquez’s camp demanded.

This is not about me being from Davao city and near to Pacquiao’s hometown in General Santos City, or being a kababayan of Pacquiao.  This is because, without Manny Pacquaio, there would be no drama in the country and in the world in terms of boxing.

The boxing sport has long been sluggish and dull, and when Pacquiao came, he stirred this up with his own brand of fighting.

Pacquaio’s loss to Marquez was a normal human error in sports, a mistake from someone who started dirt-poor and who went to Manila to become a boxer.  He’s now a congressman and has long supported the legislated 125-peso wage increase for all workers.

“Manny will remain a champ in the hearts and minds of Pinoys.  He fought ferociously and made us proud.  His name will continue to shine, both inside and outside the ring,” said Elmer Labog of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Pacquiao has supported the workers’ call for a legislated 125-peso wage increase.  “We trust that he will continue to fight for and help the country’s workers,” Labog said.

In the hearts and in the history of  the boxing world, Pacquiao deserves the accolades and a round of cheers.  (end)

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