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List of Articles by Edwin G. Espejo



PACQUIAO WATCH: Here comes The Finisher

By Edwin G. Espejo
PhilBoxing.com
10 Dec 2008



AT the rate Manny Pacquiao wrote finis to the boxing careers of Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and, now, Oscar de la Hoya and surely to others in the future who will dare cross his path, a new moniker has emerged in him – The Finisher.

Put in mind, all three aforementioned victims are locked in for Hall of Fame honors when they become eligible.

True, both Barrera and Morales are still sticking their necks out there unable to grapple with reality that their best fighting years were essentially over when they met their tormentor in Manny.

Erik Morales may have won his first bout with Manny. But the punches that he took in those fateful 11th and 12th rounds of the fight when he chose to slug it out with the Filipino southpaw basically spelled his doom. He eventually lost all four of his succeeding fights, two of them inflicted by Manny for only the stoppage defeats of his career.

Barrera was hardly the shadow of his old self after his stunning technical knockout loss from Pacquiao. Although he went on to fight nine more times after his 2003 debacle with Manny, Barrera lost his aura of invincibility and the fear factor he once brought to the table. He lost twice more after that defeat, once against Juan Manuel Marquez and again to Pacquiao in their rematch.

The list of Manny victims who fell into oblivion after they were annihilated includes former International Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion Lehlohonolo Ledwaba and promising Mexican boxers Emmanuel Lucero and Jorge Solis. They all slipped into anonymity after Manny knocked them out cold.

Now comes, de la Hoya. The Golden Boy of boxing who was reduced to The Olden Man Sunday noon (Dec 7 Philippine time), may have seen his better days when he met Pacquiao. But the manner he was dominated and humiliated relived the sorry days when Muhammad Ali suffered humiliating defeat to Larry Holmes and Sugar Ray Leonard when he was outclassed by Terry Norris.

As they say, some good things never last. And Ali, Leonard and de la Hoya are just three of the finest to ever don the boxing mitts.

With his victory over de la Hoya, Manny crashed into the elite world of all time boxing greats.

No longer is he just a phenomenon who many thought was an aberration. He crashed into the mainstream of the sports largely dominated by Americans – coming form north and south of the equator - and into superstardom with his unique and unorthodox style.

In so doing, he left many skeptics and critics eating their words.

Where before he was viewed as just a one-punch wonder with no compunction for defense whatsoever, he is now mentioned in the same breadth as boxing's immortal little big men Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Robinson, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. Not to mention as the heir apparent to de la Hoya.

He is, arguably, now The Superstar in the sports called sweet science.

Regardless if Manny will choose to leave the sports as Ali, Leonard did and de la Hoya would now do or follow the path taken by Rocky Marciano and Lennox Lewis who quit while they were ahead and in their prime, Manny's place in boxing history is assured.

He had already surpassed another Filipino boxing great in another era – Gabriel Flash Elorde, once regarded as the finest boxer to ever emerge from Asia.

Decades from now, boxing aficionados will surely debate where sits Manny in the Parthenon of boxing's all time greats.

Whatever, his record feat as the only boxer so far to win titles in flyweight, super bantamweight, super featherweight and lightweight class and held the lineal belt in the featherweight division will be used as a powerful argument against anybody else in that company.

By climbing up two more weight classes to fight de la Hoya, Manny is a class by himself. He is in the company of no one.

Win more titles in the welterweight divisions and it will be hard, later on, to argue that he is the Best Boxer of All Times and the most feared Finisher.

Top photo: Oscar de la Hoya congratulates Manny Pacquiao after De La Hoya decided to call it a night during their historic 'Dream Match' Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Photo by Dr Ed de la Vega.



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