Wake Up, Philippines!

‘The greatest boxer that ever lived’

Posted in Pinoy's Pride by Erineus on May 4, 2009
May 3, 2009, 7:05pm
Manny Pacquiao

They claimed he beat an old, washed-up Oscar de la Hoya.

They said David Diaz was not in the elite class that would have convinced the world of his worth as the pound-for-pound best boxer of the world.

They believed Erick Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera were already vulnerable at the time he defeated them.

”They” would be hard put to find a reason to put Manny Pacquiao down now.

The systematic and absolute demolition of Ricky Hatton in all of two rounds Saturday night in Las Vegas has all but cemented Pacquiao’s reputation that Bob Arum unabashedly proclaims as “the greatest boxer that ever lived.”

Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao- Filipino- is the biggest and shiniest star in the boxing constellation today. The swift job he did on Hatton has thoroughly convinced even the most vociferous Pacquiao critic of the authenticity of the image he has built over the last few years as a giant-killer.

In the run-up to the much-anticipated fight, the hype was so that some die-hard Pacquiao followers started to believe the Mancunian camps’ pronouncements of invincibility at 140 lbs. (Hatton had neretofore been unbeaten in the Jr. Welterweight limit).

Despite the fact that the Filipino sensation was the odds on favourite, there were many factors that planted seeds of doubt and apprehension on some of Manny’s staunchest fans. The size factor was continuously mentioned as the main reason why Hatton would breeze through the Pacquiao parade.

The fact that Hatton had performed well against bigger and supposedly stronger opposition on his way to light welterweight superstardom, gave the impression that a challenger who started in the diminutive 108 lb. limit could not possibly prevail.

Never mind that many boxing experts found difficulty in finding the right words to describe the kind of mayhem Pacquiao creates in the ring that befuddle his opponents.

Never mind that his list of victims kept getting longer and more star-studded.

The Filipino was just too small and lacking in the finer points of the craft to be able to keep it up.

But Saturday night at the MGM Grand left many a non-believing mouth agape. The action that lasted a shade under 6 minutes was the result of long years of preparation involving buckets of blood, sweat and tears.

Again, the sage words delivered by promoter and Harvard law graduate Arum immediately after the fight come to mind: “let this be a lesson to all…no matter how much you have achieved, you have to continue to learn. This young man (Pacquiao) does not stop learning.”

Indeed the Manny Pacquiao that now attracts even the most ardent anti-boxing activist to watch every time he fights, is nowhere near the Manny Pacquiao who campaigned in the 1990’s as a flyweight in the defunct TV series “Blow by Blow”, produced by Vintage Enterprises.

The brash young man of the 90’s was already a power puncher but was mostly just that-all power.

There was one other thing he had then that he still has now-charisma. Everywhere he fought, people would flock to watch Manny Pacquiao and he invariably entertained them with his dazzling power and folksy ways.

There is a mantra he often recites every time people ask him about his fighting style, “I always enter the ring to fight and throw as many punches as I can. After all, the game is boxing. That’s what the fans come to watch-that’s what I give them.”

And to this date, it has worked like a charm.

Add to that his avowed faith in God and it’s easy to figure out where his inner strength comes from. Pacquiao truly believes in the power of prayer and that has given him the ability to believe in himself and not get intimidated by anyone or anything in the ring.

Ricky Hatton, he with the big words and even bigger muscles, did not scare the Pacman. The Gensan native came prepared by his excellent training team, work ethic as well as the hard life that he went through in his early years.

When Hatton typically lunged forward and exposed his noggin, the right hook came swiftly out of nowhere to cause Ricky to kiss the canvass twice in the first round.

Weary of and bewildered by that right hand, Hatton braced for it in the second round only to be bushwhacked by the vaunted left that has felled so many of the Pacman’s previous victims.

Ricky went the same way but was already in dreamland even before he hit the canvass and lay prostate for a few fearful minutes.

To everyone’s relief, he woke up and was able to flash a sheepish grin in time to hear the announcement of his defeat.

The blinding speed, the fancy footwork, the right hook and the left straight came from the countless hours Manny spent in the gym and on the road with his great boxing team led by Freddie Roach.

But the calm and inner peace before the fight and the chaos he wreaks during it must come from some mystical world that he is able to visit and draw from each time he bows and kneels to commune with it.

If it didn’t cause so much joy and revelry, it could be downright creepy.


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