STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART LIX: MANNY PACQUIAO, FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO WBC WORLD FLYWEIGHT CHAMPION
By Maloney L. Samaco
Mon, 10 Aug 2020
Pacquiao (R) vs Sasakul, Dec., 1998, Thailand.
Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao was born and raised in Kibawe, Bukidnon to parents Rosalio Pacquiao and Dionisia Dapidran-Pacquiao. He is the fourth of six siblings and one of them is Alberto "Bobby" Pacquiao, also a former professional boxer.
Pacquiao completed his elementary education at Saavedra Saway Elementary School in General Santos City. Because of extreme poverty, he was not able to finish high school. He began boxing at the age of 12. His interest in combat sports was motivated by his martial arts idol Bruce Lee and "The Greatest" boxer Muhammad Ali.
In 1990, his uncle began training him in a provisional gym and after training for six months, Pacquiao joined the boxing at the park tournaments in General Santos.
At the age of 14, Pacquiao transferred to Manila and lived for sometime on the streets. He was picked up for the Philippine national amateur boxing team and this time his room and food were paid for by the government. Pacquiao reportedly acquired 60 wins and 4 losses as an amateur fighter.
Then he boxed in other cities outside GenSan to face more experienced opponents. By age 15, he was considered the top prospect in southern Philippines. In 1995, at the age of 16, he made his professional boxing debut in the junior flyweight division.
The death of a young rising boxer and his close friend, Eugene Barutag, inspired Pacquiao to pursue a professional boxing career at a very young age.
Pacquiao turned professional when he was just 16 years old, a height of 4'11'' and weighed 98 pounds, which is 7 pounds lighter than the minimumweight division. He disclosed later to American reporters that he added weights in his pockets to make the 105-pound weight limit.
His early light flyweight division fights were aired over Vintage Sports' Blow by Blow. His professional debut was a four-rounder against Edmund "Enting" Ignacio on January 22, 1995 at Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.
Weighing only 106 pounds, Pacquiao won via unanimous decision, becoming the new boxing star. Pacquiao became popular instantly due to his aggressive fighting style, unique dyed hair and his easy-to-remember surname.
Then in the next pro fight, he won over Pinoy Montejo by unanimous decision on March 18, 1995 also in Sablayan.
His third victory was on Rocky Palma also by unanimous decision on May 1, 1995 at the Montano Hall, Cavite City.
Pacquiao stopped Dele Decierto by 2nd round TKO on July 1, 1995 in Mandaluyong City.
Next in the list of victims was Acasio Simbajon via unanimous decision on August 3, 1995 at the Mandaluyong Sports Complex.
His sixth professional win was a stoppage of Armando Rocil by 3rd round KO on September 16, 1995 also in Mandaluyong City.
Next he unanimously decisioned Lolito Laroa on October 7, 1995 in Makati City.
Then Renato Mendones lasted only two rounds as Pacquiao annihilated him via TKO on October 21, 1995 at Puerto Princesa City.
Another knockout victim was Rudolfo Fernandez by TKO in the 3rd round on November 11, 1995 in Mandaluyong City.
He decisioned Rolando Toyogon by unanimous verdict on December 9, 1995 in Sampaloc, Manila.
Pacquiao got his first technical decision win over Lito Torrejos on January 13, 1996 in Parañaque City after Torrejos was cut from accidental head clash and the fight was stopped in the 5th round in the scheduled ten rounder.
Pacquiao's weight ballooned from 106 to 113 pounds then lost his 12th bout against Rustico Torrecampo by a third-round knockout.
Torrecampo controlled the first two rounds and hit Pacquiao in the third round with a left hook to the body when Pacquiao was advancing. The devastating left hand landed on the chin and Pacquiao just couldn't get up.
Paquiao’s first professional loss did not discourage him. After the Torrecampo defeat, Pacquiao continued to fight undefeated in his next fifteen fights.
He defeated Marlon Carillo by unanimous decision on April 27, 1996 at the Malate Midtown Ramada Hotel, Manila.
Then Pacquiao halted John Medina by 4th round TKO on May 5, 1996vin Malabon City.
He also stopped Bert Batiller by TKO in round 4 on June 15, 1996 in General Santos City.
Pacquiao grabbed his 15th win by a 2nd round TKO destruction of Indonesia's Ippo Gala, his first foreign opponent, on July 27, 1996 in Mandaluyong City.
Next foreign victim was South Korea's Sung-Yul Lee whom he destroyed by TKO in just two rounds on December 28, 1996 in Muntinlupa City.
In his 20th pro fight, Pacquiao won an abbreviated bout against Ariel Austria by 6th round TKO on May 30, 1997 at the Almendras Gym, Davao City.
He went on to face the more experienced Chokchai Chockvivat of Thailand in the flyweight division. Pacquiao knocked out Chockvivat at 2:46 of the fifth round and took the OPBF flyweight title in Mandaluyong City.
He had one title defense knocking out Thailand's Narong Datchthuyawat at 1:38 of the very 1st round on December 6, 1997 at the South Cotabato Stadium, Koronadal, retaining his OPBF flyweight belt.
Pacquiao also fought two non-title bouts winning over countryman Melvin Magramo by unanimous decision on September 13, 1997 at the Cebu Coliseum, Cebu City and a 1st round annihilation of Japan's Shin Terao by TKO at 2:59 on May 18, 1998 at the Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan.
Pacquiao captures his first world title by defeating Chatchai Sasakul of Thailand on Dec. 4, 1998.
Then Pacquiao got his first opportunity to fight for a world title. He challenged for the WBC and lineal flyweight titles, his first major boxing world title fight against Thailand's Chatchai Sasakul in his home turf at the Tonsuk College Ground, Phutthamonthon, Thailand.
On December 4, 1998, Pacquiao fought his second fight outside of the Philippines. Chatchai also had his dominating moments early in the fight, but Pacquiao skillfully landed more power punches as the fight progressed, converting the fight into a brawl.
As Pacquiao and Chatchai exchanged power punches in the 8th round, Pacquiao targeted Chatchai with a right hook, left uppercut combination, then finished him off with a left hook making Pacquiao a world champion for the first time.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.
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