Don’t sell Manny short
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2020 - 12:00am

The London weekly trade magazine Boxing News recently took a close look at the world’s top 10 welterweights and came to the conclusion that reigning super WBA champion Manny Pacquiao is only the fourth best in the 147-pound division behind No. 1 Errol Spence, No. 2 Terence Crawford and No. 3 Shawn Porter.

In contrast, the latest pound-for-pound ratings place Pacquiao at No. 10 by The Ring Magazine, No. 9 by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), No. 10 by ESPN and No. 7 by the popular website boxrec. The Ring, BWAA and boxrec rate Canelo Alvarez as the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter while ESPN considers Vasyl Lomachenko the best. So even as Boxing News rated Pacquiao only No. 4 among welterweights, he’s in the top 10 of the pound-for-pound ladders of four authoritative bodies.

With rumors swirling that Pacquiao is being lined up for a fight before the year ends, MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said, “(it) seems like everyone wants the Senator.” No doubt, he remains a big-ticket item even in a situation where boxing shows prohibit a live audience. Pacquiao, at 41, is still an elite marquee fighter and that’s why he’s in the top 10 of the world’s pound-for-pound ratings. Because undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. is retired, he’s not in the ratings. If he un-retires and it looks like he will, Mayweather could re-enter the top 10 but that will depend on how he performs in his comeback fight.

Although Pacquiao has been quoted as saying he won’t fight until there’s a vaccine, it’s not stopping speculation of a duel with Mikey Garcia in Saudi Arabia or an exhibition with a Japanese fighter in Papua New Guinea or a title defense in Macau or a showdown with Crawford or a battle against MMA’s Conor McGregor or a rematch with Mayweather. While Pacquiao is hot news even as he’s staying quiet in General Santos City, it appears that Mayweather is envious and doesn’t want to miss out on the media buzz. He recently said he’s negotiating a deal in Japan for a comeback. The ideal situation is for Pacquiao and Mayweather to win their next fights then they advance to a blockbuster reunion, probably when COVID-19 is licked and the world is back to normal next year.

Here’s how Boxing News sized up Pacquiao: “Considering that Pacquiao turned pro 25 years ago and has been written off several times during the last 10 of those, it’s a genuine miracle that he can still operate at this level…since Mayweather beat him in 2015, he’s won five of six against fighters like Bradley, Vargas, Broner and Thurman…a phenomenon…though his power has faded, he remains a formidable attacking force with the ability to put the kind of combinations together few other fighters in history can match…despite his successes, has been carefully matched in recent years…taking on someone at their peak like Spence or Crawford might be something of a shock to the veteran’s system…of the three above him, you’d give him a chance against Porter but little against the other two…the miracle man is surely close to the end.”

When Pacquiao’s boxing career will end is strictly up to him. But between you and me, he’s got a few more surprises up his sleeve. Don’t sell Pacquiao short. He may be No. 4 in Boxing News’ welterweight rankings but Pacquiao will always be No. 1 in the heart of every Filipino fan.

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