We have all heard the storyline of the great Manny Pacquiao. His rise from poverty to the top of the boxing world is a timeless story that I would tell my children and grandchildren as a source of inspiration of sorts.
But outside of his humble upbringings from the Philippines, an economically challenged yet resourceful and prideful country, we must look at what drives the man they call PACMAN. The nickname befitting, as he eats up opponent after opponent on his way to the top of a sport longing for a true legitimate champion.
With all the alphabet belts circulating in the many weight classes, it seems as though the belt itself is, for the most part, a devalued source of credible championship merit.
Such was the case when Pacquiao demolished a future hall of famer in Oscar De LaHoya whom many so-called experts predicted would plummet the smaller & less experienced fighter. In a surprise to many, the opposite occurred with no belt on the line, Manny Pacquiao still etched his name into legendary status.
In a sport praying for a savior, does that man already exist? If so, can he possibly be a 5'6" lightweight from General Santos City, Philippines? Yes he can and yes he is.
Being of Filipino descent myself, I could be a little bias, but hell, I deserve to be. We, as Filipinos, deserve to be. Moreso, just as boxing longs for a savior, we as Filipinos long for a countryman we can somewhat share in the success of a major sport.
And for a small minority of naysayers, and I say very small because who can credibly attack the many accomplishments Pacquiao has collected over the past 5-6 years and be taken seriously. Four world titles in four different weight divisions. He wins and loses with a gracious smile.
He never needed the assistance of a translator even though his English isn't the best, but feels he needs to connect with all boxing fans, not just the Filipinos who back him with so much passion and conviction. Yes, he is our hero but he can do so much more for this sport. A sport which is losing its fans at a rapid rate to mixed martial arts.
As we enter the new year, I strongly believe the sport will rebound in a big way. I feel the promoters understand that they must match up the best with the best in order to generate interest.
I believe more great fights will be televised outside of PPV due to the fact that there are only a handful of fighters who can generate profitable PPV sales. The heavyweight division is a dying breed, a division fighting extinction.
I believe a young child does not see the glamour in boxing and therefore chooses to pursue other glamour sports such as football and basketball. How great would a Ray Lewis or Patrick Willis be if trained in the sport of boxing from a young age. This leaves very few athletes for the sport of boxing.
Which leaves us with the lighter weight classes and all its splendor. From light-heavyweights on down, I believe there is plenty of talent to return this great sport to it's glory days.
If all the money-hungry promoters can see what we see, they will do whats right and have the best fight the best, starting with PACMAN vs THE HITMAN in May. I can't wait!