PACQUIAO'S RECORD DEBUNKS MYTH
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Wed, 18 Sep 2019
A knock to Manny Pacquiao's claim to global fame and distinction as the first and only fighter to win eight world division championship is that he was never a unified or undisputed champion according to talks circulating around boxingville.
Is that correct?
There seems to be an effort by some quarters out to distort historical facts surrounding, and in the process downgrade, Pacquiao's feat by confusing the fans with these often used terms.
Under the present scenario where there are four major world boxing sanctioning bodies recognizing as many world champions in each of the 17 weight divisions, those terms can be defined as follows:
A unified champion means a fighter has won two or more of the recognized world division titles at stake in a fight or fights.
For illustration, Vasiliy Lomachenko is now a unified champion having won three of the four major world titles in the lightweight division.
On the other hand, an undisputed champion means a fighter has won and unified all the major world titles in a certain weight division after a series of fights.
Lomachenko, already the unified WBA, WBC and WBO lightweight champion will be aiming to accomplish that when he finally meets the winner of the IBF title fight between titlist Richard Commey and American challenger Teofimo Lopez.
If we limit ourselves to those definitions, indeed it would appear that Pacquiao in collecting his world record eight world division titles, never was recognized as unified or undisputed champion in any of the divisions he fought at.
Again, is that correct or accurate?
Conversely, there are certain terms that have been in use long before boxing fell into the current chaos it has been for decades now with the advent of the so called alphabet soup boxing bodies and the multiplication of so called world boxing titles and belts.
These terms are lineal champion and lineal championship.
Per Wikipedia, the terms lineal championship and lineal champion are defined as thus:
"In combat sports where champions are decided by a challenge, the lineal championship of a weight class is a world championship title held initially by an undisputed champion and subsequently by a fighter who defeats the reigning champion in a match at that weight class. In professional boxing, the lineal champion is informally called "the man who beat the man". "
Another source, defined lineal champion as thus:
"A lineal boxing champion is intended to be the very best fighter in each weight division.
The lineal championship dates back to 1892 and the days of John L Sullivan, and the title is carried on every time when the lineal champ is beaten – i.e Fury became lineal champ when he defeated the-then current holder Wladimir Klitshcko.
The only way to become the lineal champion is defeat the previous title holder."
By virtue and the strength of these definitions, Manny Pacquiao in his conquest of eight boxing divisions has been recognized not only as world but lineal, meaning the best fighter and undisputed champion in five weight classes, namely flyweight, featherweight, super featherweight, super lightweight and welterweight.
Pacquiao in fact is also recognized as the first fighter to earn lineal championship in five weight divisions in pro boxing.
There are no doubts about Manny's claim to these lineal world championships given the men he beat for those titles and their respective records at the time he fought them.
At flyweight, he defeated by knockout Chatchai Sasakul who had earlier gained the lineal and world championship by beating Russian Yuri Arbachakov who previously had a long unbeaten reign.
At featherweight, he stopped Marco Antonio Barrera of Mexico who had claimed the lineal and world championship over UK's Naseem Hamed and fellow Mexican Erik Morales. He also drew with Juan Manuel Marquez.
At super featherweight, he outpointed Juan Manuel Marquez to claim Ring lineal and world championship. He also defeated Morales twice and Barrera at this weight in completing a rare near sweep against the dynamic Mexican trio.
At super welterweight, he kayoed Ricky Hatton for the Ring lineal championship. Hatton had earlier gained lineal and world titles by defeating Kostya Tszyu and turning back all challengers in remaining undefeated at that weight until he ran smack into Pacquiao.
At welterweight, he was recognized as lineal and world champion after beating American Timothy Bradley in 2016 after Floyd Mayweather has retired for keeps. He was officially 2-1 against Bradley but his loss to the American in their first fight was highly disputed.
These facts effectively debunks the talks, the myth that Pacquiao was never recognized as undisputed champion or the best fighter of any division he fought and won world titles at.
True, Pacquiao never won any unified championship but he never had to because he beat the men who beat the men in five weight divisions to emerge as the lineal or undisputed world champion and the best fighter in those weight classes.
Revisionists and cynics can go on with their attempts to bend and distort historical boxing facts regarding Manny Pacquiao.
But it will all be in vain.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone 09215309477.
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