Manny Pacquiao a coward? No way, baby

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EDDIE G. ALINEA

First, they said Filipino ring icon Many Pacquiao was scared of needles. That was at the height of the debate as to whether he would submit to a drug test as a pre-condition for fighting undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Next, they said he was afraid of Mayweather as reason why the long drawn out negotiations for the two of them to square off would ’t materialize. Pacquiao dispelled that notions and the duo finally squared off to years ago when Money May raised his win-loss record to 49-0 breaking Rocky Marciano’s decade-

Only recently, no less than Queensland’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk herself accused the Filipino 11-time world champion as running scared of her compatriot World Boxing Organization welterweight titlist Jeff Horn for holding in abeyance to exercise the rematch clause in their fight contract.

The 29-year-old Horn, a former schoolteacher, took the 147-pound title with a controversial unanimous decision win over the former congressman now senator last July 2 in a fight held in Brisbane many believed, including 55 of the some 60 boxing writers who covered the bout, Manny should have won.


Except for saying that he thought he had successfully defended the title, nothing was heard from the father of five with wife, former Sarangani Vice Gov. Jinkee. He, in fact, accepted the three judges’ verdict.

I have been covering Pacquiao’s fights for the past decade and I can honestly say that I was able to know him for what he is. I have said this for several times and I’m saying this again. Manny’s too good to be true. He’s more priest than pug. He’s an altar boy.

Hear him talk. He barely sounds above whisper. He always says the right things. He says things so softly as if he’s in a confession. As a fighter, younepect him to say, “I’ll moider dda bum,” as his peers in the pugilistic profession are prone to say. Or, “If he run, I’ll cripple ‘im, if he comes to me, I’ll kill him,” as Sonny Liston used to say.

Not our Manny. Why, he didn’t even have time to answer Queensland’ premier’s accusation which was short of short of calling him a coward. He could have, really, by just citing his boxing records just to show he’s not what Madam Palaszczuk said he is. He could have gloated on his winning 59 of his total 68 fights in a 22-year pro-career, 38 of them via stoppage.

In spending more than two decades of his 38-year on earth atop the ring, he has a shown how to rise from one adversity to another in the process becoming the only human being on the planet to win 11 world titles in eight weight divisions.

Seven times, this native of Kibawe in far away Bukidnon in Mindanao, would come home a loser but emerged a winner five times after those losses in an amazing display of bouncing ability seen only in men of no non-sense will power and determination.

Pacquiao, “Pacman” or “Pacific Storm” or “Fighting Congressman” to the world of sweet science, started his pro-career in 1995 as a 16-year-old stowaway in Manila who had to put extra weights in his pocket to make the light-flyweight limit.

He caught the local fight community by storm marching triumphantly to conquer, one after another, his first 10 opponents in his rookie year until he stumbled on an obscure fighter by the name of Rustico Torrecampo, who handed him his first defeat — a third round KO in a 10-round flyweight scrap held Feb. 9 1996 in Mandaluyong City.

Driven by his burning desire to help his family he left behind in General Santos City, Pacquiao continued his search for glory and in the following two years racked up 13 straight victories, 11 of them via stoppage to crown himself and the World Boxing Council 112-pound belt owner after disposing off another Thai, Chatchai Sasakul in eighth the following year.

Six more fights in a stretch of two years catapulted him to full stardom when, in 2001 fighting for the first time in the United States as a substitute contender under the tutelage of a new trainer in the person of then Hall of Fame candidate Freddie Roach, Pacquiao virtually ended African Lehlohonolo Ledwaba’s career with a sensational sixth round KO to win the International Boxing Federation super-bantamweight plum.

From being the world’s best in the flyweight and super-bantamweight categories, Pacquiao added the Ring featherweight, WBC super-featherweight, WBC lightweight, IBO/Ring junior-welterweight, WBO welterweight and WBC super-welterweight to his title collection.

All of those title conquests, for the benefit those not in the know, were won not before his adoring and supportive countrymen but before hostile crowd outside of his country.

Manny Pacquiao a coward? No way, baby.

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