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The Biggest Little Man in the World
March 14, 2010 9:34 PM   Subscribe

"I used to say that Ali was the best I'd ever seen," says Arum, an industry legend who co-promoted the Ali-Frazier "Thrilla in Manila" in 1975. "I had never said that about another man. I don't use those words cheaply. But here it is: Manny Pacquiao is the best I have ever seen, including Ali.
posted by AceRock (59 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think that Ray Leonard was the best I've ever seen. He was astounding. And there's something a bit more elegant about welterweight compared to heavyweight.

This Pacquiao is also a welterweight, so thumbs up!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:46 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't claim to know much about boxing but youtube has convinced me that Roy Jones Jr. is the baddest motherfucker who ever lived.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:50 PM on March 14, 2010 [18 favorites]


Seriously, who is he fighting from 1:40-2:00 in the vid I linked? It is preposterous.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:55 PM on March 14, 2010


1-2 Pac.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:01 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, who is he fighting from 1:40-2:00 in the vid I linked? It is preposterous.

David Telesco. I think Jones had a broken wrist in that fight...
posted by jimmythefish at 10:10 PM on March 14, 2010


Pacquiao highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXeIlFz7J2E&hd=1
posted by AceRock at 10:11 PM on March 14, 2010


It's great that the lighter weights are finally getting press. It's disappointing that this is the result of an influx of fighters from former Soviet states that nobody in the US likes, as this is often unfair to them -- though in the case of Nikolay Valuev, you can kind of understand, as the man's career is driven by his 7' 300+ lb height.
posted by mobunited at 10:20 PM on March 14, 2010


Wow, that youtube of Jones is ridiculous. He's just owning those guys. With one hand...
posted by Windopaene at 10:23 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


HBO did a segment on Pacquiao before the Clottey fight where he talks about his motives for getting into politics. "I want to be a good public servant. I want to help people." He's also on the cover of this week's LA Weekly. It's a privilege catching a glimpse of him training in the LA area.

Roy lost his speed at the end of his career and got humiliated, I think to the point of ruining his legacy, something that has yet to happen to Manny. He's such a versatile fighter, full of heart. While there was no KO in the Clottey fight last night, he didn't let the dude win a single round. I guess you can't put everyone in a coffin.
posted by phaedon at 10:32 PM on March 14, 2010


Roy lost his speed at the end of his career and got humiliated

Yeah I can see how once you slow down a touch that insane cockiness in the ring would get you mauled... but goddamn it's impressive to watch when he could back it up, right?

Speaking of speed, this is the best Pacquiao vid I've seen on youtube. Those combos vs De La Hoya are fierce.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:41 PM on March 14, 2010


I'm embarrassed that I hadn't heard of the Maguindanao Massacre. That's pretty crazy.
posted by XMLicious at 10:41 PM on March 14, 2010


Pac is an exceptional fighter, no question about that, but as it relates to boxing, some aspects of that article are questionable. (I write about boxing.)

Like a lot of fighters, Pacquiao has put on weight, moved up in weight classes as he's gotten older. Some fighters can pull it off, maintain or improve their speed and power, relative to people in the higher weight classes weight classes.

When he was fighting at 130 pounds, he was struggling to make that weight on the scale--which means days of eating and drinking very little, sweating off water weight--and putting on a lot of weight in the one day between the weigh-in and the fight.

In his last fight at 130, Pacquiao was 129 on the scale, 145 in the ring. As this stuff goes, that's a huge gain and it usually takes a toll on speed, timing and stamina, but Pacquiao was able to get away with it (by the skin of his teeth) in his last fight at that weight.

In fighting at (mandatory weigh-in weights) of 130, 135, 140, 147 and 145, which was an agreed-upon deal when he fought Miguel Cotto, Pacquiao's weight in the ring has always been within a pound or two of 145. It stands to reason that he's going to do best when he's not having to strain his body to make weight, and he has done damn well at 135 and above.

Okay, I may be boring you.

As the article notes, what might be most impressive about Pacquiao is how much he has improved, from a nuclear-powered brawler to a smart, highly skilled, tactically wise boxer with wicked speed and power. His trainer, Freddie Roach, is extremely smart. Pacquiao has been remarkable in his desire and ability to learn, both in general and in executing fight-plans.

There's an argument to be made that part of his success has come from careful match-making on his promoter's part, but that's a story for another day.

The article does not exaggerate in relating the love Filipinos have for this guy. I've worked in the Middle East, which is home to a bunch of Filipinos. Every Filipino I met there had vast knowledge of the guy's career and life and a comparable amount of pride in their countryman.

(Literally) an hour or two after his fights, pirated DVD's of the fights are available for a couple bucks at little stores in the Filipino parts of Kuwait. I had a T-shirt from the Hollywood gym where Pacquiao trains, stopped wearing it in pubic because people regularly stopped me to ask about it, talk about Pacquiao.

By the way, I wonder if there's some artistic license in this article. The writer relates how people were hugely stressed about steak and potatoes being delivered instead of steak and rice. I've seen someone put a slightly wrong meal in front of him, after it was inexplicably delayed for a good while. His promoter, Bob Arum, started to raise hell and Pacquaio said it was fine, no problem, no need to make a fuss.

Colleagues and I have never seen or heard of Pacquiao being anything other than relaxed and gracious.
posted by ambient2 at 10:45 PM on March 14, 2010 [28 favorites]


Marvelous Marvin Hagler. The Best Round of Boxing EVER.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:47 PM on March 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


The thing that impressed me about what I've seen of Sugar Ray was that he wasn't dancing about. He stayed still, like a stalking predator, until a motion was necessary. Every once in a while, his opponent would shift their guard slightly, and Ray took notice. And when the moment was right he would fly in with a storm of punches that caught his opponent utterly off guard.

Pacquiao looks like he has lasers for fists. Perfect speed and precision.
posted by Jpfed at 10:50 PM on March 14, 2010


Forget Anna Nicole, someone should write an opera about this guy. Or a musical at least. Filipinos everywhere would die of squee.
posted by emeiji at 10:50 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, the highlight of the Pac vid is the David Diaz "fucker was too fast" interview. This is why the lighter weight boxers are so much more fun to watch than heavyweights. The speed and the feet.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:52 PM on March 14, 2010


Same move every time...
posted by Nothing... and like it at 10:57 PM on March 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Same move every time...

Awesome. That's Floyd Sr. too, right? Funny.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:00 PM on March 14, 2010


As much as I love RJJ, he did dominate the 175lbers during a fairly weak period. Of the most impressive wins on his list, James Toney basically lost because he was an undisciplined fat slob (not to say that he would have won otherwise, but he didn't do himself any favors) and Bernard Hopkins was very green when he fought RJJ. His fights against Tarver and Glen Johnson especially were humiliating losses (even the win against Tarver was pretty lame). The worst thing he did for his career was go up to heavyweight to fight Ruiz and then go back down to 175. I predict he'll win in the rematch against Hopkins in a very, very boring fight.

As for Pacman, I love watching him fight. He has produced some of the most exciting fights I've seen -- vs. Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Erik Morales especially. I really, really want to see him in against Floyd Mayweather Jr, too. Floyd is (was?) such an amazingly skilled boxer, definitely slicker and quicker than Pac at his peak, but without the power. Pac has closed the skill difference a lot, and he is so ruthless that he would put Floyd in deep water, which is the only time you'll ever see him do exciting stuff. Unfortunately, I don't think it'll ever happen.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:16 PM on March 14, 2010


And any boxing thread has to have some Emanuel Augustus videos. Best boxer with 30 losses you'll ever see.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:25 PM on March 14, 2010


And, if you want to talk about Greatest of All Time, we have to remember the first Sugar Ray, Sugar Ray Robinson. They invented the idea of the "pound-for-pound" best for this guy. Hell, this was the guy ALI said was "the master." He fought something like 200 fights, won 175 of them, and this was in the days of 15-round championship fights and AFTER an undefeated amateur career. Dude was, is, and always will be, a freaking God of the Ring.

OK I'll let some other people post now :)
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:38 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Was Roy fighting during a weak period or did he just make it look that way because of the way he destroyed everyone? Same question for Tyson, really.

I agree about the weight fluctuation before and after the Ruiz fight. I think the weight changes and the punishment inflicted by a true heavyweight were just too much. He was never the same after that fight.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 11:40 PM on March 14, 2010


It seems GQ has finally found someone simultaneously quirky and epic enough to merit its house-standard Celebrity as Numinous Engima coverage; it seems all the "Is Val Kilmer Jesus?" practice pieces have finally paid off.
posted by darth_tedious at 11:54 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Roy Jones is very Bugs Bunny. I bet he could beat almost anyone.

But the best human boxer is the man or woman who outboxes the best of all other human challengers, regardless of weight, and to hell with that pound-for-pound handicapping stuff. Otherwise, you might as well say you're the best boxer, considering your particular height, weight, BMI, reach, lifting strength, punching power, lung capacity, pain tolerance, bone strength, age, experience, ...
posted by pracowity at 12:28 AM on March 15, 2010


I am the greatest! individual at this space-time coördinate.
posted by zippy at 12:36 AM on March 15, 2010


America's best pound-per-pound boxer.
posted by markkraft at 12:48 AM on March 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


David Diaz should get Larry Merchant's job.
posted by mullacc at 12:57 AM on March 15, 2010


As a 30+ year though lately lapsed* and quite less informed fan than some above I'm going to vote for early RJJ as a boxer. He was so dominant with his speed and power early in his career though that he never learned to adapt once the speed and some of the power had departed. I think Toney had great skills and is the meanest I've ever seen and used his anger effectively as both a source of power and intimidation but obviously lost discipline later in his career, not to mention that Toney was what appears in hindsight to be an example of the maximum quantity of steroids a body can endure. (He was past his prime and Roy Jones (first time as Jr. then) was in his early ascendancy when they fought if memory serves, someone correct me if I'm mistaken).

Ali though now faded and despite his losses was and remains to me the best fighter because the fight started the moment he signed the contract and merely culminated in the ring.

*Well, lapsed for some time. It had come to a point where the match-up I most wanted to see was one where Don King and other promoters would be forced into the ring to maul one another.
posted by vapidave at 1:08 AM on March 15, 2010


I can't get over the details of the Maguindanao Massacre.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:09 AM on March 15, 2010


I'm no expert, but George Foreman gets my props. Powerful tank of a bastard, and came back and won at the age he did, and on top of that he's such a friendly and good natured guy.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:13 AM on March 15, 2010


I don't think he was the best around, but I always enjoyed watching Naseem Hamed

Most every time someone brings up a name for best around, it's likely going to be someone who's a counter-puncher. Those types of people are always going to be bad ass' whenever they get into a fight, whether they properly know how to throw a punch or not. Somebody who can inherently read another person's body movements are going to seem supernaturally fast at times and have amazing dexterity. Ali is a perfect example of a counter-puncher, and of course he was able to remind everyone he was "too pretty" to get hit. That is, until he got old and slowed down at which point he started sacrificing himself so he could get the shots in he wanted.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:21 AM on March 15, 2010


For those curious, and okay with knowing how dark a world we live in, the Maguindanao Massacre.

I figured it was a trumped-up promotion for a fight ("Rumble in the Jungle" et al.). Now, I really, really wish it was.
posted by Alt F4 at 4:15 AM on March 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Maguindanao Massacre scares the crap out of me. It would have turned all media of any sort in in North America into a single-topic disaster porn machine for a year, had it happened in the US.

I'm not a news junkie by any means, but I head nothing about this, when it happened or since. This happened just a few months ago!
posted by CaseyB at 7:52 AM on March 15, 2010


Pacquiao continues to impress. He threw more than 1200 punches in that fight! If you're not familiar with him, watch the Oscar De La Hoya fight. De La Hoya might have been past his prime at that point, but he was no slouch. Remember, he had just gone the distance with Mayweather not that long before and yet Pacquiao DESTROYED him. It was no contest and the man was essentially put into retirement.

The middlewieght and welterweight divisions have been on fire for the past decade. Tyson was great and I'm a huge Lennox Lewis fan but if you've been lucky enough to watch fighters like Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward or Bernard Hopkins or Felix Trinidad or Floyd Mayweather or Zab Judah or Shane Mosley for the last ten years, you've been watching some brilliant, incredible fights. I understand the whole "Boxing is dead! MMA totally rules!" meme has been going around for a while, but anybody who says that simply hasn't been watching for the last ten years.

BTW, B-Hop will take Jones.
posted by antihostile at 7:58 AM on March 15, 2010


but anybody who says that simply hasn't been watching for the last ten years.

ESPN claims the Pacquiao fight was the largest audience on scene (as opposed to pay per view--they didn't talk about the pay per view numbers) since 1992. That says something good about the future.
posted by spicynuts at 8:27 AM on March 15, 2010


So, apparently Esmael Mangudadatu, the target of the Maguindanao Massacre has now been charged with murder over an incident when an affiliate of Andal Ampatuan (Jr.) allegedly tried to kidnap Mangudadatu's children.

Sorry for the derail, but this is an amazing story. This guy Mangudadatu not only survived the massacre but went on to file for candidacy a couple days later. Election is May 10.

And this is the most engaging wikipedia article I've ever read.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:32 AM on March 15, 2010


Add me to the list of people stunned by the Maguindanao Massacre. Jesus Christ.

And this is the most engaging wikipedia article I've ever read.

Did you say most engaging Wikipedia article? Welcome, friend, to the Taman Shud case.
posted by sallybrown at 8:51 AM on March 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


That was a pretty good article, thanks. I like the reference to "the strange" the quality of Pacquiao in his day-to-day life. It reminds me a little of a Thom Woolfe piece about Cassius Clay(I think he was still Cassisu Clay at the time).

The most impressive thing about all those fight videos of Pacquiao is that he never seems 'tired' or 'worn out' or like, you know, 'struggling.'
posted by From Bklyn at 8:59 AM on March 15, 2010


I remember when they used to show boxing matches on the weekend on ABC (I think) in the very late '70s/early '80s. Two of the guys that I loved to watch, and who were part of the incredibly great bunch of lightweight to middleweight fighters who rightly dominated the sport at that time, were Alexis Arguello (RIP) and Wilfred Benitez. In fact, Arguello-Mancini was one of the first fights I can remember watching. Kick-ass fight between a couple of tough guys.
posted by Mister_A at 9:14 AM on March 15, 2010


Wow, the GQ article actually uses the word "Dickensian." I thought that was only on The Wire.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:16 AM on March 15, 2010


I am a Miguel Cotto fan (being Puerto Rican and all), but during their match together a few months ago I could not help rooting a little bit for the Pac Man. He is insanely good.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:30 AM on March 15, 2010


"Manny Pacquiao is the best I have ever seen, including Ali."

Gee, I wonder if Mr. Arum promotes Manny's fights?

Pound for pound? I'll take the Motor City Cobra, Tommy Hearns, just cause nobody else will.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:01 AM on March 15, 2010


How about Aaron Pryor?
posted by Mister_A at 10:09 AM on March 15, 2010


I think Pac is the most fun I've had watching boxing since I was a kid in the glory days of Hagler. I love Roy Jones Jr, and was a prince Naseem fan but there's something about the Pac that makes a boxing fan go all gooey inside.

That Hatton video is super telling, Pacquiao never gives up something that's working, but as he's gotten older, his ability to adapt and improvise has been getting better and better.

Anyway, long live boxing threads on the blue. (Now if we could just get some more hockey threads)
posted by lumpenprole at 10:12 AM on March 15, 2010


Boxing is a sweet science. When you reach that level, you have a presence. RJJ had it, James Toney had it, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran(briefly), and a whole lotta mo. Ali had the most! This guys looks like the energizer bunny, but there's nothing he's doing that looks really cool, or makes me wish I were him. But I'm still happy for the guy and what he gives to his family and community. That shit's always good to see. I'm not sold on him being the best pound for pound.
posted by Flex1970 at 10:22 AM on March 15, 2010


antihostile: "The middlewieght and welterweight divisions have been on fire for the past decade. Tyson was great and I'm a huge Lennox Lewis fan but if you've been lucky enough to watch fighters like Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward or Bernard Hopkins or Felix Trinidad or Floyd Mayweather or Zab Judah or Shane Mosley for the last ten years, you've been watching some brilliant, incredible fights."

Agreed. Gatti Ward I was one of the best fights I've ever seen.

Still, when I think of boxing, I can't help but get nostalgic for the '90s. Most people remember the '90s as great time for heavyweights, but being a young Latino and watching Julio Cesar Chavez build up the longest undefeated streak in boxing history was really something special.
posted by joedan at 10:35 AM on March 15, 2010


Corrales vs. Castillo. One of the most dramatic rounds I've ever seen.

The Hamms Bear: I think RJJ and Tyson both would have been great in any era, but they both also fought against a lot of 2nd tier opponents. Had they had a consistently higher quality of opponent, they may both have been even greater fighters (and in Tyson's case, had Cus D'Amato not died and Don King not taken over his career).
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:06 AM on March 15, 2010


andrew corsello was recently named Manny Pacquiao's chief of staff.

What???
posted by jckll at 11:30 AM on March 15, 2010


How the hell wasn't there an fpp about the maguindanao massacre? I have not heard anything about this.
posted by Think_Long at 12:29 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maguindanao Massacre deserves its own FPP.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:30 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


jinx.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:30 PM on March 15, 2010


I have not staked any claim to fpp this derail, so if someone else feels the urge . . .
posted by Think_Long at 12:37 PM on March 15, 2010


I'm kind of busy right now but, if no one else has posted it in the next few hours, I may give it a go. But anybody who wants to, go for it.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:57 PM on March 15, 2010


Couple of good links.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:58 PM on March 15, 2010


OK, I just posted it.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:10 PM on March 15, 2010


There's so much more to this article than just the boxing part of Manny Pacquiao. There's the TV show, his love of karaoke (as featured at his birthday bonanza and before his bouts), and the socio-politics of the Philippines. Compared to all that, the boxing seems boring. Thanks for this!
posted by filthy light thief at 5:18 PM on March 15, 2010


Say what you want about the man, Tyson in his prime was beyond magnificent.
posted by jake1 at 5:53 PM on March 15, 2010


Did you say most engaging Wikipedia article? Welcome, friend, to the Taman Shud case.

Thanks. Outstanding link. I'm surprised no one's built an FPP around this.
posted by BigSky at 8:08 PM on March 15, 2010


Thanks. Outstanding link. I'm surprised no one's built an FPP around this.

Someone kind of did. (It's #41 in the second link.)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:00 AM on March 16, 2010


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