Monday, February 1, 2010
BOXING WRITERS NAME PACQUIAO ‘FIGHTER OF THE YEAR’ & ‘FIGHTER OF THE DECADE’
The prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America has named pound-for-pound king and Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao as the 2009 “Fighter of the Year” and capped the choice by also naming the superstar of the sport as the “Fighter of the Decade” effectively silencing the few who have dared to slander him and question his achievements in the ring by alleging he is on performance enhancing drugs without providing a shred of evidence.
Pacquiao was earlier named "Fighter of the Year" for 2009 by both Ring Magazine and ESPN.
Pacquiao continued his sensational winning streak by scoring a devastating 2nd round knockout over IBO light welterweight champion Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton last May following on his pulverization of Oscar De La Hoya in eight rounds in December 2008 and then capped his run with a pounding of Miguel Cotto to win the WBO welterweight title by a 12th round TKO last November
In the process Pacquiao won a record-breaking seven world titles in seven different weight divisions and has emerged as a genuine contender for the unofficial accolade of the “Greatest Fighter of All-Time” alongside such illustrious boxers as Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali.
It is Pacquiao’s third “Fighter of the Year” award in the last four years and he is expected to receive his award at the 85th annual banquet of the BWAA in New York on June 11, the eve of the celebration of Philippine Independence Day.
Pacquiao won the award in the balloting by members of the BWAA over the other nominees – heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, Andre Ward, Paul Williams and Arthur Abraham.
The charismatic southpaw who is admired for his speed and power in the ring and his humility both in and out of the ring also beat a roster of great fighters to win the BWAA vote for “Fighter of the Decade” including Bernard Hopkins, Joe Calzaghe, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera.
His record during the decade was 24-1-2 with his only loss being a twelve round unanimous decision setback in his first clash with Mexican legend Erik” El Terrible” Morales on March 19, 2005 when a nasty gash over his eye suffered in an accidental clash of heads in round five gushed blood and hampered his vision. However, Pacquiao avenged that loss to Morales twice- over with a 10th round TKO victory in a rematch on January 21, 2006 and a 3rd round annihilation in the last bout of an epic trilogy on November 18, 2006.
His unmatched performance earned him the Ring Magazine title of pound-for-pound king even as Pacquiao emerged as a box office sensation with the entire Filipino nation behind him as the country came to a virtual standstill, communist rebels and Muslim separatists stopped engaging government forces and police reported hardly any crimes committed.
Pacquiao’s celebrated trainer Freddie Roach who honed his skills and steered him to his second world title in his US debut when he won the IBF super bantamweight title with a smashing sixth round stoppage of Lelohonolo Ledwaba will win his fourth “Trainer of the Year” award named in honor of the late Eddie Futch who at one time trained Roach and later on taught him the skills as his assistant trainer. Roach previously won the award in 2003, 2006 and 2008.
WBC lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, who continues to challenge Pacquiao to a third fight after salvaging a draw in their first encounter and losing the rematch by a split decision and Juan Diaz, will share the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier award for “Fight of the Year” for their action-packed which Marquez won by a ninth round stoppage in Diaz’ hometown of Houston, Texas on February 28 last year.
Other awardees include ESPN’s Joe Tessitore, the “Friday Night Fight’s longtime commentator who was chosen as the Sam Taub awardee for excellence in broadcast journalism; sports columnist Jerry Izenberg of the Neward Star Ledger who will receive the John Condon award for long and meritorious service to boxing; Hall of Fame boxer, the late Alexis Arguello of Nicaragua who won world championships in three weight classes will receive the Marvin Kohn “Good Guy Award” posthumously. He died under tragic circumstances in July last year at the age of 57.
Arguello and the late Gabriel “Flash” Elorde of the Philippines were named the best junior lightweights in the world at the 20th anniversary celebrations of the World Boxing Council in New York.
Showtime broadcaster Nick Charles who battling cancer and former heavyweight contender George Chuvalo of Canada will share theBill Crawford award for courage in overcoming adversity. Two of Chuvalo's sons died from drug overdoses and a third son, as well as his first wife, committed suicide, and now he speaks to high school students about drug use.
The Nat Fleischer award for excellence in boxing journalism, the highest award the BWAA presents to one of its members, has not been announced yet. Balloting for the lifetime achievement award is ongoing. It is voted on only by past winners while this year the BWAA members voted against naming a manager of the year.
Author: Ronnie Nathanielsz