Manny Pacquiao

The art of boxing it seems, is as much in the blood as it is about spilling the blood. Like Vitali and Vladimir Klitschko or Joey and Jake LaMotta, Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, otherwise known as Manny Pacquiao, ‘The Destroyer’ or ‘The Pacman Express’, is another boxing brother. Fighting now at Super Featherweight, his brother Bobby Pacquiao is well regarded but largely pales into insignificance in light of the achievements of his older brother Manny.

Born in the province of Bukindon in the Phillipines on December 17th 1978, Pacquiao has risen up the rankings and has a record of 45 Wins, 3 Losses and 2 Draws from his 50 bouts.

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao

Fighting as a Southpaw he has also built up an impressive knockout record with 35 of his victories coming from KO’s or TKO’s.

Punching and Politics

In his native Phillipines, Manny Pacquiao is, quite simply, revered. He has been the subject of a major motion picture, in which he was portrayed by Jericho Rosales, has appeared on national Television with long time rival Erik Morales, recorded a hit single – "Para Sa ‘Yo Ang Laban Na ‘To" (Translation: "This Fight is for You") and was even a talking point of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sixth state of the nation speech, being cited as a national hero. His position in Phillipino Culture is also echoed in the army, where he has been made a master sergeant, following his boxing successes and defeat of Mexican Marco Antonio Barerra.

His vast popularity and active political interest has led many to speculate that his post boxing future could potentially be throwing punches in the Phillippine parliament. The final vindication of this came in February 2007, when Pacquiao announced his decision to run for congress. While he suffered an embarrassing defeat and was seen as turning his back on his boxing fans, it is likely that politics could still find a home for the Pac Man. In his homeland, his obvious interest in politics has been the source of much debate. Many commentators have criticized the exploitation of his popularity and stated that the inherent corruption that is said to dominate politics in the Phillipines, could prove Pacquiao’s downfall. Pacquiao is, however, not afraid of controversy and in August 2007 launched a libel suit against the Manila Bulletin over their comments on his election campaign and their personal defamation.

In the Ring

Pacquiao’s professional career started with a points victory against Edmund Enting Ignacio on the 22nd January 1995. Boxing solely out of the Phillippines, Pacquiao won his next 11 fights before meeting fellow Phillippino, Rustico Torrecampo, in September 1996. Failing to make the weight, Pacquiao was made to use heavier gloves then the standard 10 oz and fell victim to a TKO in the third round. Manny continued undefeated for his next 15 fights, with all his victories bar 2 coming by way of KO.

While drawing attention from the boxing community, the world really started to take notice on the 26th June 1997, when Manny, fighting Chokchai Chockvivat, took the Oriental and Pacific (OPBF) Flyweight title. After one official defence against Panomdej Ohyuthanakorn in December of the same year, Manny was given a shot at the WBC flyweight title. Fighting the highly impressive Thai, Chatchai Sasakul, in December 1998, Manny won by KO in the 8th round and was crowned WBC flyweight champion. Pacquiao successfully held on to this title until September 1999, when he was beaten by Medgoen Singsurat.

The defeat by Singsurat, by way of a KO in the 3rd round, signalled the end of Pacquiao’s career at flyweight, as he chose to make the move up to super-bantamweight, putting on 10lbs for his first fight against Reynante Jamili. Weighing in at 122lbs, Pacquiao achieved an impressive victory with a TKO in round two and claimed the WBC International super bantamweight title. Pacquiao went on to make 5 successful defences and, on the 23rd June 2001, stepped up a weight class and made his fighting debut at the MGM Grand, fighting Lehlohonolo Ledwaba for the IBF Super-Bantamweight title. Pacquiao actually came in as a late replacement and the South African Ledwaba was considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters around. However, the South African was pounded for six rounds before succumbing to a left cross. Pacquiao became acknowledged as an exceptional fighter and united the WBC and IBF belts.

The first draw of Pacquiao’s career came in November 2001, against Agapito Sanchez. In a fight plagued by technical errors, his opponent was docked 2 points for low blows. In round two, Sanchez accidentally head butted Pacquiao, opening up a cut above his right eye. This was exacerbated by a further head butt in round 6, which eventually led officials to stop the fight. The two men have unfortunately not met for a re-match. Several successful defences followed and Pacquiao won his next five fights, all by way of KO or TKO. The next battle was against the highly respected Mexican, Juan Manuel Marquez, back at the MGM Grand.

Pacquiao is well acknowledged as one of the hardest punchers in boxing and Marquez, normally a counter-puncher, came out like an ox. Pacquiao took him down 3 times in the first round and broke his nose but Marquez, the then WBA champion, came back to claim a draw against the Phillippino and retained his title.

The only other man so far to have beaten Pacquiao is the man known as ‘The Terrible’, Erik Morales, and their matches have becoming boxing folklore. Morales, a Mexican fighter and Pacquiao have now met three times and the record stands at 2-1 in favour of Pacquiao. However, in the first fight it was definitely the Mexican who took the upper hand, with a unanimous 113-115 decision taking it his way and giving him the then vacant IBA title.

Having moved up a weight class, Pacquiao claimed victory over Hector Velazquez, before meeting Morales again for the WBC International super featherweight title and WBC Super Featherweight Title. This time, Pacquiao, after a poor start, succeeded in turning the fight around from the middle rounds and in round 10 at 2’33 he succeeded with a TKO.

However, it was at the Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, where Pacquiao was finally able to assert his superiority over the Mexican. In a convincing display, The Pacman scored three knockdowns. The first takedown came in the second round; Pacquiao then went on to land a barrage of punches in round three, resulting in two vicious knockdowns and victory at the 2:57 mark.

Pacquiao is now acknowledged as one of the sport’s finest exponents and as both a pound-for pound fighter and puncher, one of the best in the game. His recent points decision over Marco Antonio Barrera has further strengthened his claim as the dominant force in his weight class and vindicated his position as 2006 Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year and the 2006 Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year.