Manny, Down Under

By Marc Livitz on June 27, 2017
Manny, Down Under
There's no need to rehash the past to any great detail. Manny Pacquiao’s faced all comers.

There’s not going to be another “Rumble in the Jungle” anytime soon and with good reason. Kinshasa is not on anyone’s bucket list…

We all know Manny the philanthropist, Manny the senator and Manny the champion boxer. There may only be a question at this point of what’s left of the third designation. He’ll be 40 in December 2018.

Boxing fans received some good news last week when it was announced that Manny Pacquiao, a multi-division, cross-cultural champion who has held numerous titles from 112 pounds all the way up to 154 pounds would have his latest fight broadcast on basic network cable as opposed to pay-per-view. Without going into much detail, as not much is even needed, Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KO’s) has seen his star fall in the eyes of many over the past few years. Such a perceived descent was in no way due to legal issues, but rather social, political and indeed religious views which certainly rubbed more than a few people the wrong way.

There’s a nice story about the “Pac Man” from back in 2002, when he sat in the waiting area of the Memphis airport as he prepared to fly back home to his home nation of the Philippines. Passers-by neither knew who he was nor bothered him to any degree. The previous evening, he’d successfully defended his IBF world super bantamweight title as part of the undercard which preceded the heavyweight clash between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. Manny’s second round TKO destruction of Jorge Eliecer Julio was just the beginning of a meteoric rise which would bring him fame, immense wealth and for the latter part of the next decade, opinions by many within the boxing intelligentsia about his place among the all-time greats of the sport. Once the epic nights against the Mexican triumvirate of Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales took full swing, there seemed to be no stopping the little fellow from Sarangani Province.

There’s no need to rehash the past to any great detail. He’s faced all comers. Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley are just a few of the names. There was the trilogy with Tim Bradley that no one wanted after their first meeting put a halt to Pacquiao’s six-year, fifteen-fight unbeaten run. To legions of fans (this writer included), it was as if the push was so great to keep him atop the rankings that his two decision wins over the aforementioned Juan Manuel Marquez (in 2008 and 2011, respectively) are the type which still don’t sit well. Some of us felt vindicated when Marquez put him to sleep in late 2012. Finally, yes? Not exactly. He’d be back. A few tune-ups of sorts led us to two years ago and the momentous contest several years in the making, if not wanting but several years stale at the time of delivery. We were left with fights we felt we’d never get alongside ones we’d never fathom. Still, let’s not forget that is well, boxing in a nutshell. They create and we choose whether or not to consume.

Manny will defend his WBO welterweight title sometime on Sunday afternoon at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The earlier than normal fight time is as such, of course so we can watch it on Saturday evening in the United States on ESPN. The last time Manny was showcased on a platform other than pay-per-view was in the Fall of 2005, when he took out Hector Velazquez in six rounds on HBO. Is this a treat or the realization that a $60 price tag on a fight against little known, however highly respected and prepared Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KO’s) would make fans feel like suckers of the third kind? Boxing isn’t the same type of worldwide phenomenon it was a handful of decades ago, save for a few exceptions. The information age and a monumental face lift to locales such as Las Vegas changed all of that. There’s not going to be another “Rumble in the Jungle” anytime soon and with good reason. Kinshasa is not on anyone’s bucket list unless they have a fixation on potential danger or perhaps even a death wish.

Imagine if Manny had lost one of those decisions to Juan Manuel Marquez, if not both of them. Imagine if he’d fought Floyd Mayweather in 2011 and not 2015. Would he still be a household name of sorts if the cards did him just and not lucky? Jeff Horn is not even a deep freezer name. Never mind a household name. As previously stated, that’s boxing and that’s why we watch. Or is it? To many, he’s still a hero even if may hold questionable views concerning people different than him. To many more, he’s an icon even if he aligned himself with a president who believes that hit squads are the best way to alleviate a drug epidemic which has gripped the Philippines. Kill the messenger, kill the dealer and kill the addict. Has it worked? Is it still…..just boxing? 

To many, he’s still a hero even if may hold questionable views concerning people different than him

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  1. Koolz 02:56pm, 06/28/2017

    Pacman in Australia!  with 160 people!
    He brought his own jet for these people called The PacMan!!

    The atmosphere for this fight is going to be incredible!  Really looking forward to it.  Never seen Horn fight ever.  Maybe I should check that out.

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