Manny Pacquiao: Where Does He Rank?
If you weren’t already familiar with Manny Pacquiao before this past weekend’s fight, chances are you know exactly who he is now.
The southpaw pugilist had already sent boxing great Oscar De La Hoya into retirement, mopped the canvas with Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton, and won championship bouts in six different weight divisions before defeating Miguel Cotto Saturday night, solidifying his place in boxing history.
With the punishing 12th round TKO victory, Pac-Man became the first boxer ever to win seven world titles in seven weight divisions. Winning his first Flyweight championship at 112lbs, Manny has since raced up the scales to obtain Junior Featherweight, Featherweight, Junior Lightweight, Lightweight, Junior Welterweight, and now Welterweight titles.
“It’s an honor to win a seventh title,” Pacquiao said. “It’s history for me and more importantly, a Filipino did it.”
Long-considered the “Fighting Pride of The Philippines”, Pacquiao’s massive influence over the Filipino culture in conjunction with his boxing accomplishments recently landed him on Time Magazine’s 2009 list of most influential people. His growing popularity in America over the last several months has bred much exaggeration of greatness from casual fans and experts alike, however with every fight even the most hyperbolic statements are becoming increasingly plausible.
Is he the best fighter of this decade?
All signs point to yes. Floyd Mayweather supporters will argue a claim for that title, but based on his past opponent selection and his absence at MGM Grand, it seems that Pretty Boy would rather have that argument made outside of the ring.
Is he the best fighter ever?
Pac-Man is certainly making his way up the chart of all-time greats and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better southpaw in the history of the sport. With that said though, he still has much work to be done before he can legitimately overtake the rank of such greats as Muhammad Ali or Joe Louis.
When everything is over, debates on exactly where he sits may never be settled, but there’s no doubt that Manny Pacquiao has left his mark on the world of boxing and is now building his legacy one round at a time.
Main Image: Mark Ralston/Getty Images