When Manny Pacquiao was about to battle Golden Boy Oscar Dela Hoya last year, the Filipino ring icon was believed to be facing the most daunting moment of his boxing career.
Even before the Dela Hoya-Pacquiao fight was finalized, Manny Pacquiao was already a loser in the eyes of most boxing analysts. But he proved them wrong. The Filipino boxing hero demolished DeLa Hoya, a six-time world champion, in the eight round.
Then came Pacquiao’s encounter with Ricky Hatton, whose boxing record was desecrated by Floyd Mayweather Jr., a possible next opponent of Pacquiao. But before that fight, Hatton was unbeaten. He was unbeaten in the 140 lbs weight until Pacquiao abolished Hatton’s untarnished record at 140 pounds.
Many people believed then that in fighting the Briton Hatton, Pacquiao was facing the greatest test of his professional boxing career. Again, Pacquiao proved the critics wrong. He humiliated Hatton in the second round of their fight. Hatton was never the same again, after that devastating defeat.
Last year the Philippines’ boxing legend attempted to do something that was never done before: winning the championship belt in seven weight divisions. Pacquiao was immortalized in history books when he stopped Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas.
Last year’s fight was again categorized as Pacquiao’s toughest test of his record. In looking at the tale of the tape, boxing pundits seem to be saying Pacquaio’s previous victories over three Mexican boxing legends (Antonio Barerra, Erik Morales, Juan Marquez)and over a British boxing hero were insignificant in comparison to his much anticipated ring war with Mayweather.
If the pride of the Philippines was able to survive Cotto’s power punch, this fight, in the event that Manny Pacquiao faces the unbeaten Mayweather Jr., would hardly be remembered as the “toughest fight of Pacquiao’s career.”
For Filipino fans, Pacquiao’s win over Miguel Cotto wass the most important one since the win made Pacquaio the greatest boxer in the world of all time, having won seven championship belts in seven weight divisions. No one, not even Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson, has achieved that kind of rare accomplishment: winning seven belts in seven weight divisions.
Pacquiao’s possibility of scuttling Mayweather’s record is not as momentous as the possibility of the Filipino boxing hero’s triumph over Cotto. This is the cause of the relentless buildup of thrill and excitement compounded with media hype.
Bob Arum, the promoter of this fight, had already said of Pacquiao as more popular than Ali, Tyson, and Dela Hoya. His statement remains not that arbitrary though.