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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weighting for Pacman

Nov 12, 2009 10:16 PM | By Julia Beffon

From what I've seen of the bout, it was dire. Many of the fights I've seen so far this year have fallen into that category. With the heavyweight division the preserve of the giant Klit-schko brothers, who refuse to fight each other because it would upset their mum, and the unlovable Floyd Mayweather Jr having to come out of retirement to show Juan Manuel Marquez how thin the middle divisions are, there are few international fights that have been worth staying up for.

Locally, too, there are few fighters who capture the public imagination, with the likes of Cassius Baloyi coming to the end of their careers.

This week, however, there is some really good boxing on the cards. Tonight (SS5 at 11pm), Lovemore Ndou, a former South African favourite now fighting out of Britain, tries to resurrect his career against Matthew Hatton. Considering that it's taking place in Stoke, I fear the ageing Ndou is being offered up as cannon-fodder to Ricky's little brother.

The early hours of Sunday (SS2 at 4am) should cough up the real deal: Manny Pacquiao against Miguel Angel Cotto for the latter's welterweight title, although it will be fought at a catchweight 145 pounds.

Pacquiao is a modern-day legend in boxing, rated the sixth wealthiest active sportsman and on Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world this year.

He's starred in movies, makes millions from endorsement deals and has run for the Filipino parliament, all interspersed with the occasional visit to the US to beat the bejesus out of whichever fool is willing to step into the ring with him.

I first noticed Pacquiao in 2001 when he came in as a late replacement and promptly relieved Lehlohonolo "Hands of Stone" Ledwaba of his super-bantamweight title via a technical knockout.

Pacman is a hero to non-boxing purists like myself, who secretly prefer to see a fighter with heart rather than skill. He's won titles in six weight divisions and the list of his victims reads like a who's who of the best of the lighter divisions of recent years: Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and even the Golden Boy himself, Oscar de la Hoya.

Pacquiao comes from the breed of fighters, like Kostya Tszyu and the late Arturo Gatti, whose motto seems to be: I'll win because, no matter how many times you knock me down, I'll get up again and knock you out.

Each time he has stepped up a division, the naysayers have predicted that he will fail, suggesting the extra weight will put paid to his awesome speed and power. Each time they've been wrong.

He'll have his hands full with Cotto, whose record shows only one loss. That came against Antonio Margarito, who was later found to have entered the ring with a little assistance, reported to be cement dust, in his gloves. It gives a whole new meaning to "hands of stone".

I can't see Pacquiao resorting to such tactics, or, even if he's doesn't win, saying "No mas" like the original "Hands of Stone", Roberto Duran, and quitting on his stool.

Source: http://www.timeslive.co.za/opinion/columnists/article192509.ece

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