Once Ring Magazine‘s pound-for-pound top fighter, Manny Pacquiao is expected to formally announce his retirement from the sport of boxing with his final fight tentatively scheduled for next April. Pacquiao (also known as “Pacman” by the sport’s afficionados) is a boxing legend, and the only fighter in history to have won a world championship belt in 8 weight classes.
Pacquiao has served as an inspiration to citizens of his native Phillipines, as well as an icon for AAPI sports fans in the United States and around the world. Once lauded as standing at the pinnacle of the sport, Pacquiao was heralded as a defiance of the stereotypes that plague Asian and AAPI men. Pacquiao’s ring personality is the very antithesis of those stereotypes: he is brash, aggressive, unpredictable and ferocious, but not always the smartest fighter. Cementing his status as a beloved Filipino icon, Pacquiao has pursued activities focused on political and economic uplift for Filipino people: he is a movie star, a musician, philanthropist and member of the Phillipines’ House of Representatives.
But, perhaps the most exciting aspect of Pacquiao’s career has been the consequences of his team-up with fight promoter Bob Arum. For decades, boxing had progressed by simply ignoring the economies of countries making up nearly half the world. The committed collaboration between Pacquiao and Arum to open the Asian market to the sport of boxing has single-handedly created the Pacific’s now busy boxing hub of Macau, China. In recent years, for example, Pacquiao has eschewed fighting in America and has used his boxing fame and status at the top of the sport to force opponents to fight him in Macau (and to accompany him on lengthy Asian promotional tours preceding the fight), which has brought much-needed international revenue to struggling Pacific economies and has focused greater attention in the sport on Asian fighters. These successful efforts have ushered in the new era of the Asian and Asian American boxer, which includes names such as Zou Shimeng, mixed race Korean-Kazahkstani Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin, and the now-retired Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire.
This fight has been nearly a decade in the making. On May 2nd, Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. will square off against Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao to determine once and for all which fighter is boxing’s undisputed champion.
For the casual boxing fans among you, this post will break down Saturday’s epic war: what’s happening, why it matters, and — of course — who I think is going to win.
What more does the fight of the century need? An epic, 80’s style power ballad sung in Tagalog by a nation’s hero, of course.
Sometime last month, Manny Pacquiao recorded this song — “Lalaban Ako Para Sa Filipino” / “I Will Fight For The Filipinos” — and the official music video was uploaded to YouTube just over ten days ago.
Tonight is going to be, as far as I’m concerned, the biggest night in boxing for 2014.
Manny Pacquiao, one-time Ring Magazine‘s pound-for-pound king and hero to Asian and Asian American boxing fans everywhere, is squaring off against Timothy Bradley Jr. in a hotly-anticipated rematch bout. Boxing fans will remember the highly-controversial first fight between Pacquiao and Bradley, which resulted in a 115-113 split decision in favour of Bradley by judges despite near-universal agreement by ring-side journalists and fans that Pacquiao won the fight (I was among those who felt Pacquiao was robbed). Notably, both judges who scored the fight in favour of Bradley — Duane Ford and CJ Ross — are now no longer active judges in the sport; Ross famously “stepped down” after handing over another absurd scorecard in the Mayweather-Canelo fight last year.
Tonight, Pacquiao and Bradley are calling a do-over of their first match in Pacquiao-Bradley 2 (HBO PPV, starting 9pm EST). And, the casual observer may assume that tonight will be a redemption for Pacquiao; however, the events of the intervening year since Pacquiao-Bradley I strongly suggest that tonight will go a different way.
Tonight is likely to mark the end of the Pacquiao era.
Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!