FILIPINO boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has been nominated again as Best Fighter in the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) Awards for making an inspirational comeback in his last two fights after a devastating knockout loss two years ago.
The reigning World Boxing Organization welterweight champion, he was knocked out in the sixth round by Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas in 2012. But he made an impressive return by winning his last two bouts.
Last November, Pacquiao (56-5-2 win-loss-draw card with 38 knockouts) scored a unanimous win against Brandon Rios in Macau, China, and in April avenged his 2012 loss to Timothy Bradley by recapturing his belt via unanimous decision in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao, 35, arrived in Manila on Thursday after vacationing in Israel, according to business partner Eric Pineda. “He is very happy to know it [latest nomination for ESPY Awards],” Pineda said.
The Filipino icon already won the ESPY’s Best Fighter award twice, in 2009 and 2011.
Aside from Pacquiao, another Filipino was nominated for the prestigious awards organized by cable network ESPN. Filipino-American Raymond Martin is among the nominees for Best Male Athlete with disability.
Martin, 22, who was born with a congenital disorder that caused the shortening of his joints, won the 2013 USOC Male Paralympic and swept five events at the 2013 US Paralympic Track and Field Championships.
He also garnered four gold medals in the T52 wheelchair racing category in the 2012 London Paralympics.
Other nominees are reigning unbeaten American pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., current World Boxing Association super middleweight champion Andre Ward, Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones and UFC women’s bantamweight titleholder Ronda Rousey.