Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | July 2, 2008

This champ ain’t exactly a lightweight

 

THE FIGHT, in front of a crowd shrunk by soaring gas prices, was the biggest in his career.

Under the glare of the bright lights in a neon-wrapped desert gambling haven, the face of the crowd gave everyone a feel of just how big the fight was. The world’s most notorious heavyweight was watching. Political biggies from a Southeast Asian nation were around. Heck, even the NBA world champions were on hand to witness the fight.

And in front of everybody, Manny Pacquiao, a one-time flyweight standing all of five feet and six inches—so short that he had to step on a makeshift podium to draw level with Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics—stood tallest.

This fight that everybody came to watch? It wasn’t really a fight.

It was a coronation.
The lightweight\'s a heavyweight, say American writers 

After two victories that fell a tad short of spectacular, Manny Pacquiao showed why the mythical title of pound-for-pound king should pass from one Floyd Mayweather Jr. to one Gen. Santos native.

The fight (or coronation)—a WBC lightweight championship bout against reigning titlist David Diaz—was an argument all to itself. As early as the second round, when his seemingly laser-guided right jabs were finding its mark, it was clear that Diaz’s uneventful and oft-questioned reign as lightweight champion was fast approaching the end of its shelf life.

That Diaz withstood the relentless barrage unleashed by Pacquiao all fight long only provided the Filipino ring icon a bigger stage to flaunt his greatness. Pacquiao’s bombs struck and hardly missed, his fists battering Diaz’s face into an unrecognizable, shapeless mass of blood-soaked lumps.

unrecognizable

In the end, after working a stinging right jab developed over the last couple of years, Pacquiao summoned an old friend—his pet left–to finish off the fight. And it was a bloody one at that. So bloody that, in Diaz’s own words “everyboy [close to me] thought I was going to die.”

And all of a sudden, Michael Buffer was announcing his name as the new WBC lightweight champion of the world.

But Manny’s greatness went beyond just the victory. It went beyond the Boston Celtics cheering his name post-fight. It went beyond Kevin Garnett saying he was Manny’s “No. 1 fan.”

Pacquiao’s greatness stems from the fact that he was able to conquer a division several zip codes away from where he first started. People think winning world titles in different divisions is a breeze. Sure. If you were a middleweight with granite fists with as much speed as power, you can work yourself up to heavyweight and win titles along the road.

But super flyweight to lightweight? Four world titles in that stretch? That should even be five because boxing writers in America did consider Pacquiao a featherweight champion after the Pacman battered Marco Antonio Barrera to submission in 2003.

Heck, Erik Morales is headed to the Boxing Hall of Fame and even he failed to make a dent in the lightweight ranks. Against the same foe Pacquiao dismantled. Pacquiao was so good, knockout artist Edwin Valero’s manager, who had been calling out Manny for the past year or so, is suddenly backing out of negotiations. Apparently, he is afraid Manny will add to the head injury that has prevented Valero from getting a Nevada fight license.

And Pacquiao waltzed through a nine-round show of boxing masterpiece.

bloody bout

And because he prefaced the fight—like he always does—with a dedication to the country, Pacquiao fulfilled a promise by an unforgotten hero: That the long-suffering Filipino can be great again.

On that particular Saturday night, under the glow of Vegas lights, Manny Pacquiao made the Filipino great again.

There will be a time when his punching power and his blur-like hand speed will fade and Manny Pacquiao will no longer demolish foes like he did on June 28. But it doesn’t matter now. Pacquiao is the new lightweight champion. And this particular lightweight has achieved a kind of greatness accorded to the likes of Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer and Tiger Woods.

It is a greatness that will no longer be diminished, not matter what happens in future fights against the likes of Ricky Hatton, Joel Casamayor, Humberto Soto, Juan Diaz, Nate Campbell or even Oscar De La Hoya.

It is a greatness that transcends one’s dominant stretch in a career.

greatness personified

It is a greatness that knows no expiration date.

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Responses

  1. Yan, yan ang hinihintay kong post! Salamat! I totally dig it.

  2. that’s what i’m talking about!

    told you. you don’t need long preparation for that coverage. it should have been you … but what can i do?

    why can’t you just admit you don’t wanna miss me? hehehe :)

    great post, biboy! love you!


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