December 17, 1978
Manny is a 14-year pro—he made his debut at 16. He has been fighting at the top levels of competition and given some of the most sensational performances in the ring in recent years.
A certain future Hall of Famer, Manny was voted the “2008 Fighter of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He also won the BWAA award in 2006, as well as The Ring’s 2006 and 2008 “Fighter of the Yea…r.”
Manny is also recognized by most observers as the best fighter at any weight in the ring today—the best “Pound for Pound.”
He is a national hero in his native Philippines—the entire country of over 96 million people comes to a virtual standstill to watch whenever he fights.
Manny is coming off of an electrifying second-round knockout win against former IBF jr. welterweight and WBA welterweight world champion Ricky Hatton in his last fight on May 2.
The Associated Press’ Tim Dahlberg reported from ringside:
“He didn’t just beat Hatton. Didn’t just knock him out.
“He demolished a world class fighter who had never lost at his natural weight of 140 pounds, and he did it with such precision and ease that the talk afterward wasn’t whether Pacquiao is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but whether he might be one of the best ever.
“A right hook—a punch most southpaws don’t even have—started it all, dropping Hatton midway through the first round. A left cross that may be one of the greatest single punches ever thrown in a big fight ended it with a dramatic flourish.
Manny is a national hero in the Philippines—when he returns home after his fights, he is greeted by thousands of his cheering countrymen.
“When it was over, Hatton was sprawled motionless on his back in the center of the ring. Pacquiao and his corner were celebrating and the sellout crowd was trying to digest what they had just seen.
“Boxing has a new king in an unassuming fighter so good that he won his last four fights in four different weight classes.”
Dan Rafael wrote on ESPN.com:
“With one thunderous left hand, Manny Pacquiao smashed his way into boxing immortality.
“Anyone doubt his pound-for-pound No. 1 perch now? Shoot, anyone doubt his place as one of boxing’s best ever?
“The Filipino icon destroyed Ricky Hatton in two crushing rounds to make boxing history before 16,262 at the sold out and electric MGM Grand Garden Arena….
“It’s something those of us who saw it shouldn’t soon forget because it may be a long time until we see something like this again.
“In stunningly disposing of Hatton in ruthless fashion, Pacquiao matched Oscar De La Hoya‘s record of winning titles in six weight divisions. But more important, by adding Hatton’s lineal junior welterweight championship to his growing collection, Pacquiao added a fourth lineal title, the first fighter to do that in boxing history. (Granted, there are more divisions now than there were back in the era of fighters such as Sugar Ray Robinson.)
“In plain terms, PacMan has been ‘the man’ in four divisions, the clear champion in a morass of titleholders at flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight and now junior welterweight. Toss in belts at junior featherweight and lightweight—and wins against elite opponents—and you have a great fighter.
“It was almost laughable how easy it was for Pacquiao, who was fighting at junior welterweight for the first time in his career after dropping down from welterweight, where he fought in December and destroyed and retired De La Hoya.
“It also happened to be Pacquiao’s fourth consecutive win in a fourth different division. It seems as though there is nothing he can’t do.”
In his previous fight on December 6, 2008, Manny scored the biggest win of his career—a dominant eighth-round TKO against former jr. lightweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight, two-time super welterweight, and middleweight world champion Oscar De La Hoya—the biggest name in the sport over the last two decades and a certain future Hall of Famer himself.
Against De La Hoya, Manny was considered a huge underdog by most observers—and the fight a mismatch—because of their extreme difference in size. Boxing’s conventional wisdom says that “A good big man beats a good small man.”
After the fight, Dan Rafael wrote:
“Pacquiao stunningly administered a beat down of epic proportions. De La Hoya…was never in the fight for a moment.
“Pacquiao…won his third fight of the year in his third weight division, including winning two titles. The victory makes Pacquiao something of a modern-day Henry Armstrong, the all-time great pound-for-pound legend who over the course of 10 months from October, 1937, to August, 1938, claimed, in order, the world featherweight, welterweight and lightweight championships—when there were only eight divisions.”
Manny had made his mark in boxing history, however, even before beating De La Hoya.
He has held world titles in four weight divisions—he won the WBC flyweight world title two weeks before his 20 birthday in December, 1998, the IBF jr. featherweight world title at 22 in 2001.
Manny won the WBC super featherweight world title in March, 2008, with a 12 round decision victory in the rematch against defending champion Juan Manuel Marquez. It was one of the most highly-anticipated fights of the year, and one of the most exciting.
He won the WBC lightweight world title in June, 2008, with a ninth-round TKO against defending champion David Diaz.
Manny’s nickname is “PacMan.” See More
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