July 22nd, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez
MANNY PACQUIAO DOES “LITTLE MANILA” AKA FRISCO!
San Francisco, CA- Sometimes there are people you meet that go on to unforeseen if not incredible heights. Case in point, Manny Pacquiao. A mere professional boxer in 2001 when I met him, here was the Philippine Congressman, possible Presidential candidate in 2016, Manny Pacquiao was green as a fighter and not yet a “man” really at the age of 22 when we met in 2001.
PACMAN & FLOYD MAYWEATHER SHARE BILL
Here in the City by The Bay, a Filipino bastion of Phil-Am residents, but Pacquiao, even though he had defeated the favored (32-1) Lehlo Ledwaba for the IBF 122 lb. trinket, Pacquiao was not yet a star, let alone the icon that he is today. The card topped by Floyd Mayweather-Jesus Chavez and Pacquiao vs. “the dirtiest player in the game” in the late Agapito Sanchez, drew a less than packed house in an arena we used to sell out with Golden Gloves tournament cards.
CANNOT PASS UP MENTION OF JAY EDSON
Although I won’t go into depth, this was the last Top Rank event that Event Coordinator Jay Edson would be part of before terminal Cancer struck him down. Many things have been said about Bob Arum, but the manner in which the Top Rank skipper handled his ailing employee/friend was one of class. It saddens me to even write this, but after I had Jay’s room papered with flowers, he took some other flowers he took with him that brought some peace and solitude to one of the greatest men you’ll ever have met if you ever did.
PACMAN SITTING ON BENCH OUTSIDE OF GOLD’S GYM
When I walked up to the Gold’s Gym of the Potrero Hill neighborhood, there was Manny Pacquiao sitting in what appeared to be his only embroidered jogging suit, the same one I would see hanging in Manny’s hotel shower later. As I look back at that day and the subsequent fight with Sanchez, who was murdered in his Dominican homeland a few years ago, there was nothing that even remotely hinted at Pacquiao becoming a mega star.
MANNY LUCKY HE HAD MARTY DENKIN AS REFEREE
Referee Marty Denkin, when he was on top of his game, Marty was a great official who did not fold under pressure and that’s what his handling of Pacquiao-Sanchez clearly illustrated. I’m not going to go through the fight punch by punch, but Manny Pacquiao was fouled by Sanchez repeatedly and was folding under the pressure. Looking to Denkin for help, Marty wouldn’t play into Pacquiao’s acting that peaked with his starring in the 2009 Filipino epic motion picture, “Wapakman.”
PACQUIAO WANTED NO PART OF REMATCH
Eventually an accidental clash of heads ended matters in round six with the official ruling being a Split Technical Decision Draw with each guy having a judge with the third card reading even in a IBF & WBO 122 lb. unification tilt with Pac being recognized by the IBF & Sanchez (31-9) the WBO titleholder. Although people will take issue with the way I put this, but Manny Pacquiao was “squealing” like a stuck pig and had his eye not opened up, there’s a decent chance the Pacquiao machine would have ground to a halt right then and there.
LOOKED SHEEPISH POST FIGHT & AGAINST ERIK MORALES
Knowing his performance was lackluster, Pacquiao wasn’t really celebrating in an extroverted manner. Knowing what it is like to fight a Tasmanian Devil type, the Sanchez fight was a test that the Pacman barely passed. When he faced Erik Morales the first time in 2005, Manny lost after 12 with all three judges scoring the contest 7-5 in rounds (115-113) for Morales. Cut, just as he had been seven fights and wins earlier with Agapito, Pacquiao let a winnable fight get away as he fought less than authoritatively.
LATE 2005 & PACQUIAO NOT YET ICONIC!
Still not a superstar, Pacquiao would remove Morales from the list of the world ranked in two following outings in which the mexican failed to hear the final bell on both occasions. As the “legend” of Pacquiao grew by the huge presence of Pinoys on the Internet, he would go on one of the most notable winning streaks with bodies like Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, and others, left battered and or prone.
PACMAN NOW IN WORLD OF UNCERTAINTY
Having lost two fights in succession, I’m of the opinion Pacquiao the legend should fight somebody the caliber of a Willie Standup and go out with a win at home in the Philippines. But dollars & cents trump common sense with Manny Pacquiao, as the devout Born Again Christian is doing Hennessy Cognac commercials here in the US. With a November encounter with Brandon Rios, a fighter who will turn up the heat on Pacquiao and make him fight or fold.
EXPECT LAZY IN PAST RIOS TO BE 100% FOR PACMAN!
The Oxnard, CA based fighter (31-1-1, 23 KOs), while he is not a killer, he should be an Even betting choice as Pacquiao is on the downside of losing two straight, one by brutal knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez. And not me, not Freddie Roach, not even Pacquiao or his legion of fans know if he has anything left (54-5-2, 38 KOs, 3 KO losses) seeing he will be one month shy of 35 come fight time.