What if Manny Pacquiao Fought in the 80s (10th of a Series)
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Sun, 17 May 2020
Summary, Conclusion and Commentaries
As presented, analyzed and discussed as objectively as possible in the past nine installments of this series, Manny Pacquiao could have nearly accomplished in the 1980s what he had done in the late 90s through 2010, i.e. win world titles in eight weight classes.
Manny won seven of eight weight division championships in putative matchups against many of the best fighters of the 80s, falling only in his first attempt at featherweight to Salvador Sanchez and in the super lightweight to Julio Cesar Chavez, with him losing by hard fought decisions.
He could have beaten Santos Laciar and/or Sot Chitalada at flyweight, Wilfredo Gomez at super bantamweight, Azumah Nelson in his second attempt at featherweight, Hector Macho Camacho, Jose Luis Ramirez at lightweight, Marlon Starling at welterweight and Gilbert Dele at super welterweight.
Some of the names may not sound familiar but those were the fighters that Manny could have most probably faced had he fought in the 1980s following the circumstances corresponding to his actual rise to prominence, fame and greatness from the late 90s through 2010s.
Those circumstances precluded his putative confrontations with the bigger names as stars of the 80s as Alexis Arguello, Aaron Pryor, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns and Wilfredo Benitez.
We can only conjure those in form of mythical matchups which is not the objective of this series.
In the final analysis, there is no denying the greatness of Manny Pacquiao in his professional boxing career that now spans twenty-five years, a quarter of a century!
What he accomplished within that period of time, in particular winning a record eight world championship, including lineal ones in as many weight divisions is more than enough to enshrine him in Canastota's International Boxing Hall of Fame.
But more than that, it should also put him in the discussion for all time greatness in the same breath as Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, Willie Pep and Joe Louis.
There have been doubters though including some so called experts who are claiming that Manny's record setting feat across eight weight divisions has been partly the result or product of circumstances that worked to his favor.
Plainly speaking, they are saying he was just partly lucky.
Which was partly true.
He was lucky to have latched up with an astute promoter in Bob Arum and a very able coach and trainer in Freddie Roach at a crucial point of his career. Both have been father figure to him and had treated him very well. But he also helped them to become Hall of Fame promoter and trainer, respectively.
And there was nothing lucky and definitely nothing easy in Manny's climb through the weight divisions and his winning world titles there.
At flyweight, Manny fought and defeated by KO Chatchai Sasakul who won the WBC and lineal world title from Russian great Yuri Arbachakov.
For the IBF super bantamweight, belt, Manny fought and defeated by KO Lehlo Lebwaba who was at that time at the brink of breaking through the elite pound for pound list.
At featherweight, Manny fought and defeated by TKO Marco Antonio Barrera who was then the best featherweight fighter and champion on the strength of his victories over Erik Morales and Nasem Hamed.
At super featherweight, Manny wrested the WBC and lineal belt from Juan Manuel Marquez who is among Mexico's few multi division world champion and unarguably among its very best.
At lightweight, Manny defeated by KO for the WBC title, David Diaz who was a former amateur standout and Olympian.
For the Ring and lineal world super lightweight belt, Manny defeated by one punch KO Ricky Hatton who became numero uno at the expense of Russian great Kostya Tzsyu.
For his seventh world division title, Manny fought and defeated Miguel Cotto who is considered as one of the best fighter ever from Puerto Rico.
And for his record high eighth world division title, Manny practically demolished a Goliath in Antonio Margarito for the WBC super welterweight championship.
Those were household names and a power to be reckoned with.
Much more than a few Manny could have faced and beaten had he fought in the 1980s.
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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