Pacquiao earns more accolades
By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Close this MANILA, Philippines—The accolades keep on coming for Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao.
The World Boxing Council and the website of CNN and Sports Illustrated (www.cnnsi.com) were the latest organizations to extol Pacquiao as their fighter of the year.
Pacquiao, who manhandled Oscar De La Hoya on his way to an eighth-round stoppage in their welterweight “Dream Match” last Dec. 6, also advanced to the finals of the online poll search for the top sportsman of 2008 conducted by Singapore-based sports network ESPN Star Sports.
Pacquiao defeated Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar in the semifinals to earn the right to face top-ranked squash player Nicol David of Malaysia. The winner will be announced live on Dec. 31.
The WBC, in a report posted on www.philboxing.com, cited Pacquiao’s title conquests in both the super featherweight and lightweight divisions.
The Filipino narrowly beat Juan Manuel Marquez last March in a rematch of their May 2004 bout to snatch the Mexican’s super featherweight title.
Pacquiao moved up to the lightweight division in June and easily pounded a ninth-round knockout of then champion David Diaz.
“Pacquiao, simply put, had arguably the greatest year of anyone in sports,” wrote cnnsi.com columnist Chris Mannix in explaining his vote for the Filipino.
“He accomplished so much and he did it with the style and grace that befits a true champion. Pacquiao became the best ambassador boxing could ever hope for in 2008, as dangerous in the ring as he is benevolent out of it.”
Pacquiao beat the likes of American Paul Williams, who won two world titles in the three weight divisions he entered, and Antonio Margarito, the conqueror of Miguel Cotto, for the award.
Mannix said the victory over De La Hoya was the “triple exclamation point on Pacquiao’s year which came at the expense of the heavily favored Golden Boy.”
Pacquiao is scheduled to fight British hitman Ricky Hatton in a junior welterweight bout on May 2 and could fight former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. before the end of 2009.