BY EDDIE G. ALINEA - (Part 1)
LOS ANGELES: Since beating Oscar DeLa Hoya to pulps on December 6, 2008 in his first bout as a welterweight, Manny Pacquiao has fought in 147-pound division 16 times.
His coming unification encounter with American co-WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman will be his 17th in his 70-fight 61-win, (39 KOs) 7-loss, 2-draw record.
The only human being to win world championships 12 times in eight weight division, has won 13 of those welterweight outings, including a TKO in 12 rounds over Miguel Cotto to annex the WBO belt on November 14, 2009.
Pacquiao, who will be entering the tapering off stage of his preparation here, lost twice in questionable verdicts, first to American Timothy Bradley on June 9, 2012, and second to former Australian teacher Jeff Horn on July 2, 2017, and once legitimately to arch rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 5, 2015.
All three defeats cost him his WB0 welter throne, although he won it back as many times, the last at the expense of Argentine Lucas Matthysse, from whom he wrested the WBA version of the crown on July 15 last year.
The 2000 “Fighter of the Decade” kept his WBO regular belt against bad-mouthing American Andre Broner only last January 19, 2019.
He is, at age 40, eyeing the “super” WBO title of another brash-talking fighter from this land of sweet and honey, “One Time” Thurman on July 20 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
In between fighting at 147-pound, the father of five with wife, ex-Vice Gov. Jinkee, took on Ricky Hatton on May2, 2009, knocked the enemy out in round 2 to crown himself the super-lightweight champion in a classic encounter called “The Battle of East and West.”
The victory over Hatton handed Pacquiao the former’s IBO, the ring and and lineal light-welterweight diadems. He became only the second man in boxing history to become a six-division world titlist and the first man ever to win lineal world titles in in four different weight classes.
After pounding Joshua Clottey into submission to defend the WBO plum on March 13, 2010 at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Pacquiao arranged a showdown with big boy Antonio Margarito on November 13, 2010.
The fight against Margarito paved the way for the Filipino-legend the chance to capture a world title in his eighth weight category — the light middleweight to super welterweight division.
During the pre-fight, Manny weighed in at a low 144.6 pounds to Margarito’s 15 pounds limit. During the fight itself, Pacquiao tipped the scale at 148 pounds, 17 pounds lighter than Margarito’s 165.
Pacquiao, using his handspeed and movement, won by unanimous for his eighth gonfalon in as many category. In the 11th round, Pacquiao begged referee Lawrence Cole several times to stop the senseless carnage with Margarito suffering from swollen face.
The former WBA, IBF and WBO welterweight titleholder had large cut, too, between the right eye. Manny dominated the entire fight held before 41,743 fans at the Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium, despite Margarito’s huge size advantage.
It was discovered after the fight that Margarito’s orbital bone was broken as Pacquiao inflicted a career-altering eye injury.