By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS
For the first time in its July 7, 2008 issue, New York-based Sports Illustrated, the world’s most prestigious sports magazine, featured World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight champion Manny Pacquiao.
It described the Filipino world champion as “heavy hitter” in an Inside Boxing section story written by Pablo S. Torre. “Manny Pacquiao, the sport’s biggest little star, moved up a weight class and crushed David Diaz for his fourth title,” read the article’s sub-title.
“I met Pablo Torre and was impressed with the way he wrote the article,” observed magazine subscriber Joaquin Hagedorn Jr. of Las Vegas, Nevada. “He is not an ordinary writer because he has a degree in Harvard.”
Hagedorn said to be featured in the Sports Illustrated is a dream of most world class athletes who have carved a niche in their respective fields. “It means that an athlete is recognized and respected all over the world,” he said.
Torre described Pacquiao’s win over the 32-year-old Diaz as “easy and entertaining, and when Manny Pacquiao burst into his dressing room at Mandalay Bay last Saturday (June 28) night as the new WBC lightweight champion, he leaped into the waiting embrace of a cluster of fans who know a bit about resounding championship clinchers.”
Torre reported that “to celebrate their own title”, some of the Boston Celtics stars led by Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce “alternated chants of Manny, Manny!’ and ‘Boston, Boston!'”
Boston Celtics is this year’s National Basketball Association (NBA) champion.
The writer described the Pacquiao-Diaz fight as “totally unsurprising but awfully fun to watch.”
“For all the attention given to Pacquiao’s domination of Mexico’s best fighters (with wins over four Mexican world champs), his demeanor (affable outside the ring, almost joyful within it) and his nearly cutlikepopularity in his home country, it is his relentless style that is helping to carry the sport.
“With the heavyweight division mired in mediocrity and fans diverted by the rising popularity of mixed martial arts, Pacquiao has set media-sales records with his aggressiveness, ” wrote Torre.
Pacquiao, 29, a reservist in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), will next tangle versus Oscar De La Hoya, 35, in a duel dubbed “It’s Personal” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 6.