Manny Pacquiao and 13 Fighters Who Best Represented Their Home Countries
Whether a boxers' achievements come inside or outside the ring, they always are an inspiration for the country they come from.
For a fighter like Manny Pacquiao, his accomplishments come both inside and outside the ring. Not every boxer has been able to make such a visceral movement as Pacquiao, but they have all inspired future stars and other boxers to do something great for their country.
It's no secret Pacquiao is one of the most admired and famous Filipino boxers, and it's not only attibuted to his accomplishments as an athlete.
The 32-year-old is also a politician and movie star in his country. Without a doubt, Pacquiao inspires many Filipinos to aspire to rise from the tumultuous and dangerous lifestyles that he once had to deal with while selling bread on the streets of Kibawe.
Not all of the boxers on this list have been as significant as Pacquiao was or is in his country, but they all left their marks in the history that defines the greatest moments of their country, and they've done it all in the ring.
No. 13 Ricky Hatton: England
Ricky "Hitman" Hatton wouldn't just bring a group of fans to his fights, he brought an army.
Whenever the British fighter made his way to a fight, Machester united as one to support their favorite athlete and one of their must beloved boxers.
Alongside Joe Calzaghe, Hatton would leave his imprint as one of England's finest superstars and fan-favorite boxers of the century. He didn't just appeal to his England fans.
He also had success in America and brought a lot of attention and fans to the states to put on mega-fights with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
He was always one of Britain's favorite fighters, but exploded into the boxing mainstream when he defeated Kosta Tszyu to win the IBF welterweight title. Hatton went undefeated in his first 43 professional bouts before losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2007.
No. 12 Azumah Nelson: Ghana
This three-time world champion boxer widely considered to be Ghana's greatest fighter amongst a population of 24 million.
In a career that spanned 19 years, including a short one-fight comeback in 2008, Nelson obtained a 39-6-2 record. His career picked up early after making his debut in 1979.
In less than three years, he took on Salvador Sanchez for the WBC featherweight title and lost via TKO in the fifteenth round of a very competitive bout.
Some of Nelson's most notable opponents include Jeff Fenech (x3), Pernell Whitaker and Wilfredo Gomez.
He became the WBC featherweight champion when he defeated Gomez in 1984 and went on to defend the title 11 times before losing it to Whitaker in 1990.
Former Ghana President J. A. Kufuor stated he wished every Ghanaian sportsmen follow in Nelson's footsteps, and it's for good reason.
No. 11 Nino Benvenuti: Italy
Over a 10-year period from 1961 to 1971, Giovanni Benvenuti compiled an 82-7-1 record. He went undefeated in his first 62 professional bouts.
That came after the Italian-born boxer from Trieste, Italy won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1960 in Rome, which also earned him the Val Barker trophy.
Other boxers to receive the VB trophy include Roy Jones Jr., Howard Davis Jr. and Vassiliy Jirov.
Benvenuti competed in some of the most significant fights in the history of Italian boxing including two bouts with Carlos Monzon, three bouts with Emile Griffith and one with Luis Rodriguez.
His achievements inside the ring include being the undisputed junior middleweight champion from June 18, 1965 to June 25, 1966 and the undisputed middleweight champion from March 6, 1968 to November 7, 1970.
He is one of over 50 Italian boxers to win a championship title.
Notable Italian-American boxers include Rocky Marciano, Carmen Basilio and Willie Pep.
No. 10 Roberto Duran: Panama
Roberto Duran is not only one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all time but also and quite possibly the greatest Panamanian athlete ever.
There isn't a Panamanian person that doesn't know who he is, and no Panamian boxer who isn't inspired by his tenacious, savage fighting style.
"Manos de Piedra" or "Hands of Stone" was a nickname given to Duran, who was known for getting into street fights and backyard brawls as a child.
Those street fights would be the proving point for Duran to make his way into boxing, where he eventually defeated Sugar Ray Leonard and gave him his first professional defeat.
Duran would go onto win five belts in four different divisions and compete in boxing for five decades. He won titles in the lightweight, welterweight, junior-middleweight and middleweight divisions.
Duran retired in 2002 with a record of 103 wins, 16 losses with 70 knockouts.
No. 9 Jacob "Baby Jake" Matlala: South Africa
In a 2004 poll organized by the SABC, Matlala was ranked #72 in the "100 Greatest South Africans."
Born in Soweto, Gauteng, South Africa, the future flyweight champion started boxing at the age of ten and turned professional in 1979; three years after the infamous Soweto uprising where police opened fire on 10,000 protesting students, killing 23.
Matlala won and defended the WBO flyweight title when he defeated Pat Clinton in 1993 and defended four times before losing it to Alberto Jimenez.
He would rebound and win the light-flyweight title less than a year later.
In the end, Matlala had left his mark in boxing with a 53-13-2 record.
He also holds the distinction of being the shortest world champion at 4'10" tall.
No. 7 Felix Trinidad: Puerto Rico
With other world-famous boxers like Carlos Ortiz, Wilfredo Gomez and Wilfred Benitez being acclaimed before him, Trinidad had to work hard to follow suit, just as Juan Manuel Lopez and Miguel Cotto did after him and are doing so currently.
At a time when athletes had a negative public image in Puerto Rico, Trinidad was able to capture the hearts of everyone who watched him.
He had an incredible 40-0 record with 33 knockouts including the record for most welterweight championship defenses at 15.
Puerto Rico is not short in boxing talent, and it's modern-day finest are all inspired by what Trinidad did in the ring.
He competed in some of the most significant fights including those with Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas, Bernard Hopkins and a comeback fight versus Ricardo Mayorga.
He retired for the second time in 2008 after losing to Roy Jones Jr.; the second of two back-to-back losses.
No. 6 Ken Buchanan: Scotland
Former undisputed light-heavyweight champion and English boxer Ken Buchanan is widely considered to be the best boxer ever to come out of Scotland.
Born in Edinborough, Scotland, United Kingdom, Buchanan made his professional debut in 1965 and retired in 1982 after achieving a 61-8 record.
The American Boxing Writers voted him the best boxer in 1970 after he won the undisputed world lightweight title and was voted the British Sportswriters' "Sportsman of the Year" in 1971.
Scottish boxer and up-and-comer Craig McEwan is someone Buchanan has inspired to emulate his success he had in the United States from 1970 to 1973.
No. 5 Carlos Monzon: Argentina
Born into poverty in the slums of Argentina, Monzon's personality and attitude towards life, death and boxing would forever be tragic but fascinating.
It would be what carried him out of poverty, which effected less than 5 percent of the Argentinian population in the 70s.
Before Carlos Monzon died in an automobile accident in 1995, he had most notably achieved a seven-year run of defending the middleweight championship defense 14 times; a record he would hold until Bernard Hopkins broke it in 2001.
To win the world middleweight championship, the lesser-known Monzon defeated Italian boxer Nino Benvenuti in 1970. It was also voted the 1970 "Fight of the Year" by Ring Magazine.
After a record of 90 wins, three losses and nine draws, Monzon retired in 1977. He was also voted Ring Magazine's "Fighter of the Year" in 1972.
Accused of murdering his wife, Monzon was sentenced to jail in 1988 for 11 years. During a weekend furlough, Monzon crashed his car and died instantly.
No. 4 Steve Collins: Ireland
Born in Cabra, Ireland, Steve Collins, better known as "The Celtic Warrior," entered the boxing ring with the full intentions of being one of the greatest fighters out of Ireland.
He achieved that and more.
In an era that saw rivalries like Chris Eubank vs. Nigel Benn, Collins became the WBO world middleweight and super-middleweight championships and would go onto defend his win streak until retiring in 1997.
Over 10 years, he defeated the likes of Nigel Benn (x2), Chris Eubank (x2), Chris Pyatt, Chris Cummings and Cornelius Carr.
In a bout that would have defined the future star of the division in Joe Calzaghe, Collins had to retire before the proposed bout could happen.
No. 3 Julio Cesar Chavez: Mexico
Julio Cesar Chavez defines what most would consider a true Mexican boxer. With a relentless stalking attack, brutal body shots and a endless desire to win, Chavez would win 107 bouts and only lose six.
After 25 years and 301 rounds of title fights, he won six different titles in three weight classes including the WBC welterweight title in 1984, WBA lightweight title in 1987 and the Ring lightweight title in 1988.
Chavez took part in one of the biggest fights with the largest gates ever when he fought Greg Haugen in front of 132,274 people
He also holds the record for most consecutive title defenses in the junior welterweight division at 12.
No. 2 Joe Louis: United States
"Joe, we need muscles like yours to beat Germany." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
Joe Louis, along with Muhammad Ali, Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey could all be included as the most important American fighter, but Louis took part in arguably the most significant fight in boxing history versus Max Schmeling in 1938.
Aside from defeating the famous German-boxer, Louis had a title reign that lasted 140 consecutive months including 26 championship fights during that time.
While Jack Johnson was the first African American to win a world title, Louis was truly the first to become a nationwide hero as the Nazi-regime was beginning to rise in Germany prior to World War II.
In his rematch with Schmeling, who was accompanied by a Nazi party publicist saying a black man couldn't defeat him, Louis knocked him down three times in the first round to earn a knockout victory two minutes and four seconds into the round.
No. 1 Manny Pacquiao: Philippines
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The most famous Filipino boxer and politician is Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao.
Following in the footsteps and even surpassing some of other well known Filipino boxers like Pancho Villa, Flash Elorde, Ben Villaflor and Luisito Espinoza, Pacquiao has won ten world titles in eight different weight divisions.
He also has recorded a solo album and starred in several movies including the superhero film Wapakman.
In 2010, Pacquiao was elected to the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress of the Philippines. He recieved 120,052 votes; almost twice as much as his opponent.
In boxing, Pacquiao has 52 wins, three losses and two draws with 38 knockouts. He has beaten the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Erik Morales (x2), Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera (x2), Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto.
Some other facts about Pacquiao:
He is the only Filipino athlete to be printed on a postage stamp.
He is rumored to be starring in a future Sylvester Stallone movie to make his Hollywood debut.
He is the fourth non-fictional Filipino to appear in a video game (Fight Night Round 2, 3, 4 and Champion)
He also appeared in a beer ad along former opponent Erik Morales.
He was included in Time's 2009 list of 100 most influential people of all time.
During Pacquiao's fights, the crime rate of the Philippines drop significantly and as low as zero.