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Is Pacquiao one of the greatest of all time?

Manny PacquiaoBy John F. McKenna (McJack): World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KO’s) is now in the twilight of his magnificent career. Thus far “Pacman” has not given any indication that his amazing skills have declined.

No one could have imagined when watching Manny twelve years ago as a flyweight what a great fighter he would become. To say that Pacquiao is a great fighter is a fairly moot point.

When totaling up Manny’s accomplishments in the ring, the world titles he has won the fighter of the year awards and in particular the Fighter of the Decade award he won for the years from 2000 to 2009 it is nearly impossible not to recognize that we have a great fighter in our midst. Moving up through eight weight divisions and winning world titles in all of them is also a clear indicator that Manny Pacquiao is a special fighter.

Adding to all of Pacquiao’s other accomplishments is his award for being named the Pound for Pound (P4P) best fighter in the world.

The question being asked by more and more boxing fans and Pacquiao contemporaries is how great is he? Where does he stack up against the all time greats? Attempting to judge any active athlete is always very difficult. Boxing fans tend to think with their hearts instead of their heads when it comes to boxing. That is why David Haye was favored in England to defeat Vladimir Klitscko on July 2. Nationalistic pride often colors the thinking of boxing fans and even so called boxing historians. It is a subjective judgment at best and even boxing “experts” sometimes get that one wrong.

My grandfather, who was an avid boxing fan, swore to the day he died that Jack Dempsey was the greatest heavyweight of all time. He would not even entertain the thought that perhaps Joe Louis had surpassed Dempsey’s greatness as a fighter.

The same is true of boxing fans who lionized Muhammad Ali in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
No one will ever convince Ali’s loyal fans that he was not the greatest heavyweight of all time.

It is an unfortunate fact of boxing life that most fighters do not get the recognition they deserve until they are either in the twilight of their career or retired.

A fighter or any athlete cannot be truly judged until he is retired and some time has been allowed to elapse.

All we know at this point is that Manny Pacquiao is a great fighter. It is premature to attempt to place him in any order on an “All Time Greats” list. That is not to say that he will not ultimately wind up on such a list.

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