Pacquiao named ‘Fighter of the Year’

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Philippines’ pride Manny Pacquiao highlights the big year of professional boxing as he was chosen Fighter Of The Year by an online media entity

Pacquiao, regarded as the second best pound-for-pound fighter in the world behind Floyd Mayweather, but is now known as the most exciting boxer to watch, heads the cast of honorees of 2006.

His twin knockout victories over future Hall Of Famer Erik Morales and a decisive win over former champion Oscar Larios was enough testament of his dominance in the year about to close.

He went 3-0 for 11 months and this is the reason why two well-known promotional outfits in the United States – Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank – are disputing on the right on Pacquiao, who will become the franchise boxer of either camp.

While Pacquiao was the Fighter Of The Year, neither of his bouts with Morales were chosen Fight Of The Year by Fox Sports.

The Fight Of The Year was the Mahyar Monshipour-Somsak Sithchatchawal bout, a match which was not broadcast in American television.

“It amazes me to read about the number of boxing writers, who simply haven’t seen this all-action junior featherweight slugfest, even though it took place in March and had been available on the internet almost immediately thereafter. It has become apparent that we all too often limit our view to what takes place on American television and not gems like Monshipour-Sithchatchawal, which was broadcast out of France,” said boxing writer David Greisman.

Pacquiao, who was also chosen the best fighter by ESPN and USA Today, also earned the nod of, a well-followed boxing website on the internet as well as the Boxing Times as well as the Sports Network

According to the Boxing Times staff, Pacquiao consistently gave people their money’s worth with his high-octane explosive style of all out warfare.

Some guys have more skill, better balance and are superior boxers. However, the sensation from General Santos City in the Philippines is the second coming of boxing immortal Henry Armstrong.

“He is the sort of fighter who doesn’t need tune-ups. He just needs legacy fights. And if the 2006 trend continues, we may see more of those in 2007,” said Sports Network’s columnist Julius Stecker.

Meanwhile, Top Rank honcho Bob Arum has a lot of convincing to do for Manny Pacquiao to join his stable of boxing superstars.

Unlike rival Golden Boy Promotions (GBP), none among Arum’s current roster of talents is capable of giving Pacquiao a fight that is a multi-million in nature, the kind which the Filipino had in his three bouts with the legendary Erik Morales.

That’s the major reason why Arum personally visited the 27-year- old Filipino ring sensation in General Santos City to induce him in choosing his promotional outfit over Golden Boy. The future Hall of Fame promoter arrived in Manila Tuesday morning on flight PR 105 from the US and immediately took a connecting flight to GenSan.

Pacquiao had an audience with Arum last night, although the result of their talk remains undisclosed.

“Bob is over there to make a personal plea to Manny. He will try to convince Manny to stay with Top Rank,” said a close confidante of Arum.

Top Rank and Golden Boy, owned by boxing star Oscar dela Hoya, are currently locked in a tight battle for the services of Pacquiao, who made the scenario even worst by signing with both rival promoters.

GBP inked Pacquiao to a seven-fight contract, while Top Rank claimed it signed the Filipino to a four-year deal. A case filed by dela Hoya against Arum is now ongoing on US court.

But Dela Hoya appeared to have several aces up his sleeves as Golden Boy promotes current world champions and Pacquiao nemesis Juan Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez and Joan Guzman.

A rematch with Barrera, whom Pacquiao dealt an 11th round knockout demolition in 2003, guarantees Pacquiao no less than $5 million while a second meeting with Marquez, the fighter who held the Filipino southpaw to a draw two years ago, is also a potential megabuck draw.

Even supporters of the former two-time world champion favors Barrera and Marquez as Pacquiao’s next possible opponent.

In an ongoing poll being conducted by Pacland, the official website of Pacquiao, 75 percent out of the 20,279 who voted, wanted Barrera to be the Filipino’s first fight in 2007. Marquez is next with 11.2 percent, followed by knockout artist Edwin Valero (8.5 percent) and Guzman (3.1 percent).

Dela Hoya has already penciled a March 17 date between Barrera and Pacquiao.