PACQUIAO WATCH: Asia’s best guns for immortality
By Edwin G. Espejo
20 Oct 2009
FILIPINO boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao is set to leave for the United States Saturday where he will resume training for his November 14 title fight against Puerto Rican Miguel Angel Cotto. Pacquiao will try to wrest Cotto’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown and annex his seventh title in as many weight divisions.
Although the emergence of a cacophony of alphabet soup titles has watered down the prestige of boxing titles, Manny’s quest for immortality takes no precedence.
No fighter has ever done it before.
In fact, no fighter who started his professional career at 106 pounds has ever invaded the featherweight ranks and took away titles along the way.
Manny is gate-crashing into a weight class that has been dominated for decades by pugilists from the Americas. For all the boxing greats that trotted the welterweight division before, none of them has ever come from Asia.
A look to the Hall of Fame of boxing, Pacquiao had already eclipsed all Asian fighters in the history of the sport.
He captured his first boxing title two weeks before his 20th birthday by stunning undefeated Thai hero Chatchai Saisakul via an eight-round knockout.
He lost his World Boxing Council flyweight title when he failed to tip the scales, eventually dropping a third round knockout loss in an ensuing non-bearing bout.
He however bounced back and shocked South African Lehlohonolo Ledwaba to capture the International Boxing Federation super bantamweight crown in the undercard of the De la Hoya-Castillo light middleweight title fight in June 2001.
Little did Pacquiao know he would fight Oscar de la Hoya as a welterweight seven years after appearing on the same boxing card.
Pacquiao however broke into international fame when he pummeled Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera, then reigning featherweight king, into throwing the towel in eleven rounds - six fights and two years later as a small featherweight.
The rest has been history as Manny would wrest titles in the super featherweight, lightweight and super lightweight by defeating Juan Manuel Marquez, Juan Diaz and Ricky Hatton in the same order.
In his fifteen years of professional boxing, Manny fought, both figuratively and literally, bigger opponents – the most memorable of them Oscar de la Hoya whom he forced to quit on the stool after eight rounds of welterweight boxing in December last year.
Against Cotto, Manny will be fighting in just his third fight north of the 140 pound limit.
Cotto has never fought below the 135-pound limit and is a natural welterweight where he was undefeated until Antonio Margarito knocked him out in July 2008.
Not only is Cotto naturally bigger than Pacquiao, the Puerto Rican is also stronger and younger. Some are saying Cotto is already a shot after his brutal defeat from Margarito.
Whatever it is, a victory over Cotto will place Manny in the solo and enviable spot as the only fighter in the history of boxing to capture seven world titles in seven different weight categories.
Manny is a once-in-a-generation, perhaps in a lifetime, specimen of a boxer gifted with physical attributes that defy physics and demolish conventional wisdom that a good bigger fighter will defeat a smaller good fighter.
A win over Cotto will not only solidify his place in the pantheon of all-time boxing greats, it will also be a triumph of Asians in a sport that was once a fixture of American arenas and may have dated back in the early days of the gladiators.
No Asian sports lover will not celebrate his victory.
Story courtesy of Asian Correspondent. Click here for more stories by Edwin G. Espejo at Asian Correspondent.
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