Pacquiao/Hatton Countdown: Manny Pacquiao - Evolution of a Legend
By Vivek Wallace: In a sport consisting of 17 separate weight classes and hundreds of contenders contained within each, earning the most coveted status in the game comes with far more pressure than contentment. What has made the rise to pound-for-pound supremacy even more intriguing in the case of Manny Pacquiao is the fact that his journey to where he now stands today required him to categorically bypass 10 of those 17 weight divisions - (flyweight through welterweight) - earning four straps along the way and becoming the first Asian fighter in the history of the sport to do so. The early days in the life of Manny Pacquiao were far from the Hollywood script we see today, and would eventually take a toll on the young Filipino. Not having a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of wasn't the way Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao would have liked to spend those days, but it wasn't until the untimely death of close friend Mark Penaflorida in 1994 that he decided to pursue the sport, which would change his life forever. Some know him as the "Filipino's finest", his native country men and women know him as "Pambansang Kamao", but to those fans around the sport which he has helped save, he's affectionately known as 'Pacman'; a stark parallel to the way we've witnessed him gobble up competitor after competitor..
Article posted on 29.04.2009
In January of 1995, Manny Pacquiao would earn a decision against Edmund Ignacio in his first professional competition after four solid rounds. 287 rounds and 52 fights later, he's the owner of 47 more wins against 3 losses, and a consensus bid for being the best in the game. When viewing his road to the top, it was very clear from early on that Manny Pacquiao was not only a man of substance, but one with heart that oozed from his soul. In the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao serves as little less than a walking billboard for his country, adored by the nation, and even granted its highest honors by being asked to carry the torch in the 2008 Olympic Games - making him the first ever in his country to receive such an honor without being an actual Olympic games competitor.
Embodied within his spirit is a man whose way of life could serve as a template for many of us. Humble in nature, predatory at battle. Away from the ring, Pacquiao's celebrity has allowed him to indulge in everything from acting, to music, to global endorsements and politics. Looking in the rearview mirror of his career, few highly notables of his era have escaped his wrath. Among that list is a marquee selection of names such as Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Oscar De La Hoya. Besting that particular group of men who will go down as the greatest of their countries recent era helped Pacquiao earn himself the not so politically correct reputation for being a 'Mexi-cutioner'. Having accomplished everything he could have ever imagined outside the ring already, Pacquiao's focus now lies squarely on accomplishing the few things remaining inside the ring. Those previously mentioned names mean a lot, but the addition of British phenom Ricky Hatton and America's Floyd Mayweather jr. would allow Pacquiao to in effect conquer the 'world' by adding the proverbial cherry on top! With the opportunity to do something grand, the defining moments in that evolution are now one step closer. Tune in Saturday night, May 2nd, at 9pm est on HBOPPV to see if Pacquiao can close the gap and help bring his evolution full circle.
(Tune in for tomorrows feature article in Eastside Boxings countdown to Pacquiao/Hatton):
Wed. - Ricky Hatton - Evolution of a Legend (chronicles the rise to fame for the U.K.'s favorite child)
Thr. - Pacquiao/Hatton - Great Moments of Adversity (a look at some of their key career defining fights)
Fri. - 'Call Em Out Fridays': Pacquiao/Hatton - Small Statures, Big Stakes
Sat. - Keys to victory, Four to explore, and Official fight prediction (strategy, four critical elements to watch for, and official prediction)
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