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Title Romps in Non-Traditional Divisions Put Manny Pacquiao in GOAT Discussion


PhilBoxing.com




It is not just the number - eight world championships in as many boxing weight divisions - but his title conquests even in weight classes where Asian fights are traditionally weak that put Manny Pacquiao firmly in the discussion as to the GOAT or greatest fighter of all time or honor.

Aside from winning mostly lineal world championships in the flyweight, super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and super lightweight, divisions where fighters from Asia and the Philippines specifically have been successful or at least competitive through the years, Pacquiao also won world titles in the welterweight and super welterweight classes, divisions where Orientals are traditionally very weak or at worst, considered as nuisance.

Pacquiao in fact could be considered as the first and only Asian to win a world championship at welterweight which has been synonymous to Sugar Ray Robinson who many considered as the greatest fighter of all time. Though Robinson got acclaim as GOAT in the middleweight where he reigned as world champion for a record five times, it was really in the welterweight where he was at his almost invincible best, chalking up 91 consecutive victories in one stretch on the way to an incredible 128 wins, 1 loss and 2 draws record including an unbeaten run as world welterweight champion. And though other Asian boxers have won world titles at super welterweight or junior middleweight, he was the first fighter to win a major crown at that weight level (154 lbs) coming from as low at the light flyweight or 105 lbs.

Fact is the weight classes from the lightweight or 135 lbs and above have historically and traditionally been dominated by Caucasians, mainly American and European fighters including many of African and Latin or Hispanic and lately Slavic origin.

Hence, Asian fighters excelling in the lightweight and above are considered a rarity as it is even unique for a pugilist from the region to excel or be extremely competitive in more than one weight class at that level.

Pacquiao has therefore achieved the extraordinary in not only winning championships but even dominating at lightweight and super lightweight or 140 lbs, reigning once at super welterweight (154 lbs) and being world champion at welterweight not just thrice with WBO but four times including his winning the WBA super belt.

Manny will be gunning for his fifth world championship at welterweight against WBC-IBF unified titlist Errol Spence of the US on August 21, 2021. If he wins, he will be the first welterweight since Floyd Mayweather, Jr. to have experienced handling all the major belts in the division (although not simultaneously as unified champion in undisputed capacity). If he wins, Manny will essentially equal the feat of Robinson in becoming five time world champion though Sugar Ray achieved that at middleweight.

Being five time world middleweight champion inasmuch as being the first three time world heavyweight champion apart from dominating boxing for much of their respective eras, i.e. the 1940s and 1950s and 1960s and 1970s qualified Robinson and Muhammad Ali as the GOAT. That notwithstanding their few career losses.

Who would question Pacquiao's fitness and qualifications for being in the discussion as the GOAT or at least being among the greatest fighters of all time?

Pacquiao won his first world title in 1998, the decade of the 90s and his last already in 2019, or the 2010s or potentially this August 2021, already the 2020s. That means at the very least, Manny has been a world champion in all of the past three decades, i.e. from 1990s through the 2010s and potential, if he wins over Spence, including the 2020s. No other fighter in history has done that. Reigning as world champion in more than three decades while being dominant or still very competitive in at least two (Pacquiao was Fighter of the Decade 2000-2009 and was strong contender for Fighter of the Decade 2010-2019 which was controversially awarded to Floyd Mayweather, Jr who retired in 2015).

But more than the statistics, it is Manny's extraordinary feat at divisions usually dominated by non-Asians (i.e. lightweight up) that makes his record eight world championships in as many weight classes that put him over and above other multiple champions and at par with the greatest fighters to put on a pair of gloves and fight professionally since the dawn of the so called sweet science.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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