Manny Pacquiao: A Boxing God
By Vikram Birring (Dec 10, 2008) (Photo © Laura De La Torre)  
Timeline: November 15, 2003. Manny Pacquiao walks into a hostile environment, ten thousand rowdy Hispanic fans riled up in support of Mexican hero Marco Antonio Barrera. An unknown from the Philippines is the opponent, best known for knocking out a super bantamweight champion whose name is difficult to pronounce, Ledwaba it was. Nobody’s giving him much of a chance; this writer and his father are the only two Pacquiao fans not named Freddie Roach in the Alamodome.

Forty-two minutes, fifty-six minutes. Barrera’s brother Jorge, openly sobbing, runs into the ring and embraces his brother. Enough is enough, the Filipino destroyer with the fire of a ravenous animal had beaten up the Baby Faced Assassin and taken his heart in the process. A man who boxed his entire life had the face of someone who wanted nothing to do with the sport any longer. The world had taken notice.

Timeline: December 6, 2008. Manny Pacquiao is not being given much of a change again, he is moving up two weight classes to face yet another legend, Oscar De La Hoya. Since that massacre in San Antonio, he had retired Barrera and fellow icon Erik Morales, rid himself of snake promoter Murad Muhammed, and collected a few belts and dollars in the process. The fans knew who he was, but again, the powers that be doubted him. Insiders with years of experience believed the old adage “A good big man beats a good little man.”

Unfortunately for Oscar, this was no ordinary little man. The events of the night were eerily similar, except this time, Pacquiao gave some respect to his opponent, for a few rounds at least. That’s the minimum he could do for his idol. Then, sensing his prey was helpless and confused, the Pacman pounced.

Just like Barrera, Oscar ate combinations, not fluid like Joe Calzaghe’s, but rough and violent, each blow inciting the image of an ax chopping down a tree, one swing at a time. Just like Barrera, Oscar’s face showed discouragement; once again, a man who had boxed all his life looked like a deer in headlights, bewildered and in essence, with no desire to fight anymore.

Like Jorge Barrera, Nacho Beristain saw enough. No point in letting a proud champion getting his skull pounded in any longer. Wave the white flag, it’s all over.

Down goes another legend.

Better yet, a new legend has been created. Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino typhoon who can defeat any man who steps in front of him a boxing ring.

All hail the God of boxing.

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