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Sunday, May 3, 2009

There is only ONE Manny Pacquiao

He lost his 12th professional fight by third round knock-out in his homeland of the Philippines.

Thirteen fights later, rebounding, he captured his first world title as a flyweight via 8th round knock-out against Chatchai Sasakul in Thailand.

In his second defense of the belt, at twenty-years of age, Medgoen Singsurat knocked him out in the third round.

Seven wins later, the young fighter caught the eyes of American fight fans for the first time on the under card of Oscar De La Hoya's bout with Javier Castillejo, as he stopped Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in six rounds to capture a super bantamweight title.

In his next fight, I saw him for the first time in a tough technical draw against the now deceased Dominican tough man Agapito Sanchez. The fight was stopped due to a cut that was produced near his eye by a headbutt in the second round...I was not impressed.

On July 26, 2003, he made me wrong for the first of many times. Going into a fight against then undefeated Emannuel Lucero, I picked against him. He knocked out Lucero for a victory.

His next fight, he did the impossible, ruined my birthday and knocked out the then seemingly untouchable featherweight kingpin (and my favorite boxer, of the time) Marco Antonio Barrera. Now title changed hands, but he was the best featherweight in the world.

Immediately after testing Barrera, he jumped in with an unsung Mexican pugilist by the name of Juan Manuel Marquez and quickly dumped the master boxer three times in the first round en route to a memorable draw.

The following year, Tijuana toughman Erik Morales took a spirited decision from him. Some who thought he was over-rated, felt the end was near for the rising star.

To his credit, he then went and beat Morales, decisively by knock-out two times and captured another world title, now at super featherweight.

But the doubters kept asking what about him giving Barrera and Marquez another opportunity, surely, lightening could not strike twice?

It did, he defeated Barrera and Marquez, again, in that order

To make his legend grow even larger and his countrymen adore him even more, he captured a lightweight title against David Diaz by stoppage in the 9th.

Lightweight was not enough, as he then faced the man who all of boxing wanted to fight at the time, for the money, but he made it about the glory, Oscar De La Hoya.

I predicted the larger De La Hoya would brutalize him, and make him do a "chicken dance" after a receiving a left-hook to the head; I was wrong.

This small man from humble beginnings, who carried the hopes of a nation of his shoulder, and who was physically much smaller than the bigger De La Hoya, but who has a larger heart, made "The Golden Boy" quit on his stool.

Had he accomplished enough? No, there were still doubters.

He beat an older De La Hoya, he needs to fight a larger man with a pulse, many fans and experts argued.

In came Ricky Hatton, the true "king" of the junior welterweights.

Guess what? Tonight in Las Vegas, Nevada, before thousands of Ricky Hatton's fans and countrymen, he knocked out the Brit in two rounds.

There is only one him.

There is only one Manny Pacquiao.


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