I’m no great fan of the 147-pound fight between Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya on Dec. 6, but if there is one positive side effect it’s that a truly great, truly exciting boxer like Pacquiao is going to get more spotlight than he ever has before, by virtue of sharing a ring with a man who’s been soaking in boxing’s spotlight for more than a decade.
Tonight, ESPN’S E:60 — a kind of 60 Minutes for sports — will feature Pacquiao. From a news release summary of the segment, which calls Pacquiao “the next big name in boxing”:
Manny Pacquiao holds many titles. He is currently the WBC Lightweight Champion, was formerly the WBC Super Featherweight Champion, The Ring Featherweight, IBF Super Bantamweight Champion and WBC Flyweight Champion but as the first Filipino and Asian boxer to win five world titles in different weight divisions, his most prominent role might be as a hero/icon in his native country. This 29 year old from General Santos City, Philippines rose from the poverty of his country to be named by The Ring magazine as the top pound for pound boxer in the world in June, 2008 and is poised to become even bigger if he wins his December fight with Oscar De La Hoya. E:60 reporter Jeremy Schaap sits down with the world’s number one boxer to talk about Pacquiao’s big break in June, 2001, when he stepped in as a late replacement and beat IBF Junior Featherweight champion Lehlo Ledwaba by technical knockout. He has virtually destroyed most pugilists that have dared to step in the ring to face him since then and right now many experts agree Pacquiao is carrying boxing. With eight straight wins and a record of knockouts in terms of revenues from his recent pay-per-view fights, Pacquaio may be worth more than his weight in gold. According to Mark Taffet, senior vice president for HBO PPV, Pacquiao weighs 135 pounds (but) his PPV numbers look more like heavyweight numbers.” Tune in and find out why this fighter was able to generate a record $20.2 million in revenue for a featherweight class bout.
There are corrections I could issue to some of that — it wasn’t a featherweight bout, I can’t tell what Taffet said exactly, etc. — but why nitpick? It’s great that Manny’s getting some love, because he’s a good ambassador for the sport. Now, here’s hoping he doesn’t get shellacked in the ring the way the last boxer featured on E:60, Kelly Pavlik, did.