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PACQUIAO ON COVER OF TIME MAGAZINE


PhilBoxing.com




In the span of 65 years, from 1923 to 1988, only nine boxers had been featured in the cover of the prestigious Time Magazine.

This year, 21 years after former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was accorded the honor, the Filipinos’ own Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao will be accorded the distinction in the Magazine’s Asian Edfition that will come out early next week, bcoming latest of only few Filipinos to have been given such, including, among others, Presidents Manuel Quezon, Manuel Roxas, Ramon Magsaysay, Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino and environmentalist Chin Chin Gutierrez.

A recognition, his nth, that, for intent and purposes, would end the long-running debate as to who is the greatest boxer, at least in this era, if not all-time.

President Aquino, who died only last August, was also on the cover when she was named Time Magazine’s “Woman of the Year in 1986 after she helped topple a dictatorial regimen and restored democracy in the Philippines.

Reserved only for Popes, Chief Executives, Nobel Prize winners, and other world famous personalities, the Magazine is featuring the 30-year-old General Santos-based Pacquiao, acknowledged as today’s finest pound-for-pound fighter in the world, who fought his way from the abyss of homelessness, lack of even an elementary education, and participating in local fights for a purse of $2 - if he won to become what he is now, world chxampion in six weight divisions and hoping to win another one this coming Novcember 14.

Forced to sleep on cardboard boxes and ate one meal a day in his early years, Pacquiao held menial odd jobs after running away to Manila as a young lad from far south of Mindanao, incuding shining shoes and vending breads and cigarettes, Pacquiao would soon find a vocation using his fists and hone this skills to perfection.

“His ferocious drive bludgeoned with distinct clarity the faces of his ring opponents, the Time story, titled “The Great Hopes”, related. “They represented nothing more than the extreme adversities which he long sought to overcome.”

The writer recalled tat on the flight back home after his demolition of Oscar de la Hoya (Manny was a 2-1 underdog going into the fight), he declared "Nothing is impossible, so long as you keep God in your heart and in your mind," message theat becomes the rallying cry for a struggling people.

Desspite making his mark as an all-time great, he remains a gentleman outside of the ring, Time said of its cover boy.

Out of the many legendary fighters to have fought in the last 25 years, Tyson was the last boxer featured (in 1988), while the similarly great fighters like Oscar de la Hoya, Roy Jones, Jr., Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Evander Holyfield have yet to earn the honor Paquiao and the other nine had attained.

The world junior-welterweight champion, thus, joined Muhammad “The Great” Ali, who was featured thrice, the last in 1978, Jack Dempsey in 1923, James Tunney in 1926, Max Schemeling in 1929, Primo Carnera in 1931, Joe Louis in 1941, Sugar Ray Robinson in 1951, Ali as still Casius Clay in 1963, Ali, again with arch-rival Joe Frazier in 1971, Ali, also in 1978 and Tyson in 1988.

“What is happening to me now is the most humbling experience of my life. It is a great honor for me to be the face of my people and to let everyone know we are a small but mighty country. I have great pride for all of the Filipinos living throughout the world and it is these people that I fight for each and every time I step into the ring,” Time Magazine quoted Pacquiao as saying in an interview.

In paying tribute to the Filipino ring icon, Time wrote: “ Pacquiao's humility, generosity, and faith are qualities that resonate with his people.”

The Time also quoted Pacquiao in a recent interview at a church in Los Angeles where he said he not only prays for himself but for all of his opponents in the ring. That includes a prayer for his next opponent on November 14th (Puerto Rican world welterweight kingpin Miguel Cotto.

Outside of the nine fighters, nine other athletes had, at one time or another, appeared as cover – baseball player Pete Rose in 1989, cagers Michael Jordan (1998) and Magic johnson (1996), tracksters Marion jones (2000) and Michael Johnson (1996), golfer Tiger Woods (2000), tennis-playing sisters Venus and Serena Williams (2001) and Beijing Olympic swimming hero Michael Phelps (2008.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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