Bruce Lee Would Have Defeated Manny Pacquiao in a Boxing Match

Colin LinneweberSenior Writer IMarch 22, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - MARCH 13:  Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines celebrates in the ring after defeating Joshua Clottey of Ghana during the WBO welterweight title fight at Cowboys Stadium on March 13, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. Pacquiao defeated Clottey by unanimous decision.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

My friends and I gathered two weeks ago to watch WBO world welterweight champion Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao utterly outclass former IBF welterweight titlist Joshua “The Hitter” Clottey to earn a lopsided unanimous decision victory at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.

By approximately the third round, it was clearly evident that the formidable Clottey (35-4, 20 KOs) had zero chance whatsoever to compete with Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs).

The offensively boring nature of the fight, coupled with healthy samplings of adult beverages, led us drunken viewers to begin debating who would emerge victorious in various fantasy scraps.

A straight boxing bout pitting Pacquiao against legendary martial artist Bruce Lee was mentioned by one of my  house guests.

Initially, I scoffed at my friend’s suggestion that Lee could even challenge Pacquiao in a pugilistic showdown.

Pacquiao is the only boxer in history to win seven titles in seven different weight divisions and he was deservedly honored in January as the preeminent fighter of the past decade by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

“Pac-Man” is currently ranked by Ring Magazine as the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world and he is widely considered to be one of the greatest prizefighter’s to ever step into a ring.

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At 31, Pacquiao is tough, agile, and incredibly quick for a man of his diminutive frame.

Nevertheless, disregarding my initial cynicism, I decided to conduct research on Lee.

Lee was born in San Francisco, California.

However, he was raised by his parents in Hong Kong until his late teenage years.

In the mid-1950s, Hong Kong was badly infested by the criminal activities of violent gangs.

Throughout his adolescence, Lee frequently fought and seriously bludgeoned many thugs associated with these gangs.

Although he was consistently the victor, the shire brutality of these brawls made Lee’s parents elect to have their son properly trained in martial arts.

In the 1958 Hong Kong Inter-School Amateur Boxing Championships, Lee trounced three-time British titlist Gary Elms by a third round knockout.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that if Bruce Lee had gone into pro boxing, he could easily have ranked in the top three in the lightweight division or junior-welterweight division,” said Dan Inosanto, a martial arts instructor who focuses on Jeet Kune Do Concepts.

In April 1959, Lee returned to the Bay Area where he lived with his older sister, Agnes.

Shortly after his homecoming in The City by the Bay, Lee began to formally teach martial arts.

In a full-contact match at a YMCA handball court in Seattle in 1962, Lee knocked-out a Japanese black belt called “Uechi” in seconds.

“The karate man arrived in his GI, complete with black belt, while Bruce showed up in his street clothes and simply took off his shoes. The fight lasted exactly 11 seconds,” said witness Taki Kamura. “Bruce had hit the guy something like 15 times and kicked him once. I thought he’d killed him”

Granted, this was a full-contact match and not a boxing contest.

Nevertheless, it is astonishing that Lee managed to punch his opponent “like 15 times” in “11 seconds.”

Lee’s surreal quickness was renowned and his punching speed alone would have enabled him to smoothly transition into the sport of boxing if he had so desired.

In fact, Lee was so supremely fast that many of his movements were periodically too rapid to be captured clearly on film.

Bruce Lee did not concentrate his efforts strictly on the art of boxing.

On the contrary, Pacquiao made his debut as a professional prizefighter with a victory in January 1995.

Hence, it is apparent that Pacquiao has focalized his enter adulthood toward The Sweet Science.

Pacquiao’s boxing skills are presumably more advanced than Lee’s ever were because of their training purposes.

Still, it generally takes around four months for a prizefight to transpire after it is officially announced.

Considering his astonishing physical gifts, if Lee solely dedicated all of his preparations toward boxing for a third of a year, he would trump Pacquiao in a prizefight.

Manny Pacquiao is a boxing legend.

Bruce Lee is an absolute martial arts icon.

If they had battled, the icon would have emerged victorious against the legend at his own game.

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