MANILA, SEPTEMBER 6, 2011 (STAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo - (Photo - Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao wears a winning smile beside Floyd Mayweather Jr. (left) and David Haye. On Nov. 12 (Nov. 13 Manila Time) in Las Vegas, Pacman will fight Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez for the third time)

On a recent trip to Hong Kong, as soon as we deposited our bags at the Marco Polo Gateway Hotel, my friend Raoul Tidalgo and I rushed to Swindon Bookstore (where some scenes of the Ewan McGregor starrer The Pillow Book was shot), one of our two favorite haunts in the former Crown Colony, aside from HMV which has relocated to the new building one block away.

As usual when we visit a bookstore (Barnes & Noble and Borders, some outlets of which have sob, sob, sob!!! folded up), we violate our standing just-browse-don’t-buy policy (too many books left unread, hayyyy!!) and end up buying more…with pleasure!

This time around, look what I found: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing (by Harry Mullan and Bob Mee) with Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao as cover boy together with David Haye and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (“the one” Pacman dreams to meet in the ring). A veritable collectors’ item, definitely! How could anyone have resisted buying it even at the prohibitive (for any tightwad tourist!) price of HK$375?

The book is a bit heavy and I’m giving it to Pacman for his library the next time I see him, presumably before he flies to Las Vegas in November for his third bout with Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas on the 12th (13th Manila Time) of the month.

In the chapter on The Great Boxers (in the company of, among others, Muhammad Ali, Marco Antonio Barrera, Miguel Angel Cotto, Floyd Patterson, Evander Holyfield, Sugar Ray Robinson, Mike Tyson, Joe Walcott, Oscar De La Hoya, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Rocky Marciano, Erik Morales, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Joe Louis, David Haye, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and, yes, Juan Manuel Marquez), the entry on Pacman reads in part:

Born: Bukidnon, Philippines, December 17, 1978

Titles: WBC flyweight champion 1998-99, IBF super-bantamweight champion 2001-03, WBC super-featherweight champion 2008, WBC lightweight champion 2008, WBO welterweight champion 2009-

Records: 55 contests, 50 wins, 2 defeats, 3 draws

A fast, heavy-handed southpaw, Manny Pacquiao generated such excitement that he was widely acknowledged as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world as 2009 drew to a close. In the Philippines he is an iconic figure...

…A mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. fell through over a blood-testing row, and Pacquiao continued his run of form with a comfortable decision over Joshua Clottey…

Only two other Filipinos are mentioned among The Great Boxers: Gabriel “Flash” Elorde and Pancho Villa.

Born in Bogo, Cebu, on March 22, 1935, The Flash was World junior lightweight champion from 1960 to 1967 with a record of “117 contests, 88 wins, two draws and 27 defeats.” He died of cancer at age 50 on Jan. 2, 1985.

On the other hand, Villa (real name: Francisco Guilledo) is listed as born in Iloilo, Philippines,
on Aug. 1, 1901 and died at an early age of 25 due to blood poisoning on July 14, 1925, holding the titles of American flyweight champion from 1922 to 1923 and world champion from 1923-1925, and with a “record of 109 contests, 80 wins, four draws, 20 No Decisions and five defeats.”

Although his life story inspired a movie, Ali with Will Smith in the title role, Muhammad Ali never ventured into showbiz unlike Flash Elorde who starred in his own biopic, The Flash Elorde Story, and Pacman who has starred in a few movies (the last was the 2009 Metro Filmfest entry Wapakman with Krista Ranillo as his leading lady) and whose life story was dramatized in Pacquiao The Movie with Jericho Rosales in the title role.

Of course, Pacman has ventured into other fields, including recording and TV-hosting (the GMA game show Manny Many Prizes, aired late Saturday afternoons), and even politics, winning as congressman (of Sarangani) after a failed initial try.

Pacman is now training hard for his third bout with Marquez who was here over the weekend to help kick off the world promo for it.

Asked how the first two bouts ended, The STAR’s Quinito Henson said, “The first in 2004 was a split draw but Marquez was floored three times in the first round. Pacquiao should have won by split decision but one judge, Burt Clements, made a mistake by scoring first round 10-7 when it should have been 10-6. Clements’ error could not be corrected. If he scored 10-6 as he should have, Pacquiao would have won by split decision. In the second fight in 2008, Marquez floored once in the third round and lost by split decision. First fight was at weight limit of 126 lbs. and second fight at 130 lbs. In the third fight, it will be at a catch-weight limit of 144 lbs. even as Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight 147-pound title is at stake.”

The whole world is waiting with bated breath how their third bout will turn out. Whose hand will be raised in victory, that of Philippines’ Pambansang Kamao or that of The Dynamite from Mexico?

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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