STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART LX: MANNY PACQUIAO'S STAR SHINES WORLDWIDE AS IBF WORLD SUPER BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPION
By Maloney L. Samaco
Thu, 13 Aug 2020
Pacquiao defeats Ledwaba on June 6, 2001 in Las Vegas.
Manny Pacquiao had one title fight after winning the WBC and lineal flyweight title from Thailand's Chatchai Sasakul. Before that, he stopped Australia's Todd Makelim by 3rd round TKO on February 20, 1999 in Kidapawan City.
Then he defended the title successfully against Mexican Gabriel Mira via a fourth-round technical knockout on April 24, 1999 at the Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City.
During Pacquiao's second defense of the WBA flyweight title he lost against Medgoen Singsurat, also known as Medgoen 3K Battery, via third-round knockout. The bout was held in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand on September 17, 1999.
He lost the crown even before stepping into the ring as he failed to make the weight limit of 112 pounds. He was stripped of the title and the bout with Singsurat was declared a non-title match.
Despite being physically weak resulting from his failed effort to reduce, Pacquiao decided to fight his Thai opponent.
From the opening bell, he was an easy target for his Thai foe and barely threw punches. Singsurat trapped Pacquiao on the ropes and targeted his body with blows that sent him to the canvas. He was grimacing in pain when he was counted out.
Like his first loss to Torrecampo, Pacquiao failed to avenge the loss to Singsurat because he gained weight and skipped the super flyweight and bantamweight divisions. He moved to the super bantamweight (or junior featherweight) division of 122 pounds, and fought for the WBC international super bantamweight title.
He defeated countryman Reynante Jamili by 2nd round KO on December 18, 1999 at the Elorde Sports Complex, Parañaque City and won the vacant WBC International super bantamweight title and defended this title five times.
Then he stopped Filipino - Australian Arnel Barotillo via 4th round KO on March 4, 2000 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Manila.
In his second defense he destroyed South Korea's Seung-Kon Chae by 1st round TKO on June 28, 2000 at the Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City.
His next opponent was Australian Nedal Hussein whom he defeated by 10th round TKO on October 14, 2000 at the Ynares Center, Antipolo.
Pacquiao's 31st career win was over Japan's Tetsutora Senrima by TKO at 1:06 of the 5th round on February 24, 2001 at the Ynares Center, Antipolo.
His 5th WBC international super bantamweight title defense was a victory over Thailand's Foijan Prawet by KO in the 6th round on April 28, 2001 at Kidapawan, Cotabato.
Pacquiao's big break came on June 23, 2001, against IBF super bantamweight title holder Lehlohonolo Ledwaba of South Africa. Pacquiao stepped into the fight as a late replacement of Mexico's Enrique Sanchez on two weeks' notice.
Before his turn to shine on HBO, Pacquiao had only fought three times outside of the Philippines in 34 professional bouts, including the loss to Singsurat in Thailand.
The underdog and unknown Pacquiao won the fight by technical knockout and the title, his second major boxing world title. The bout was held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada. This time he boxed under head trainer Freddie Roach, owner of the Wild Card Gym in West Hollywood.
With a purse of only $40,000 Pacquiao floored the champion three times, and a straight left hand sent him to the canvas for good for a TKO victory in round six.
The unexpected victory put the name of Manny Pacquiao in the list of boxing world's shining stars. It ushered a billion dollar boxing career which made him so popular that he could be considered as one of boxing's all time greatest.
Then Pacquiao faced WBO super bantamweight champion Agapito Sánchez of Dominican Republic in a unification match on November 10, 2001 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California as the main supporting bout of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Jesús Chávez. This event marked the first time both Mayweather and Pacquiao appeared together in the same fight card.
Referee Marty Denkin stopped it at 1:12 of the sixth round after the ringside physician declared Pacquiao unfit to continue due to cuts opened by Sanchez’s repeated head butts. Under IBF and WBO unified championship rules, the fight was to be decided by the scorecards.
Judge Ricardo Bays of Florida scored it 58-54 for Pacquiao, judge Marshall Walker of California had it 55-57 for Sanchez, and judge Raul Armando Caiz of Texas saw it a 56-56 draw. Both Pacquiao and Sanchez retained their respective belts by virtue of the technical split draw.
Most experts saw Pacquiao as the clear winner. The popular HBO commentator Harold Lederman scored it 58-54 for Pacquiao.
Pacquiao dispatches Julio in the second round on June 8, 2002 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Then Pacquiao knocked out Jorge Eliecer Julio in the second round on June 8, 2002 at The Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee as the main supporting bout of Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson fight. This saw Pacquiao's first appearance in a joint HBO and Showtime fight card.
Julio of Colombia was a two-time bantamweight champion, having held the WBA title from 1992 to 1993 and the WBO title from 1998 to 2000. He was also a bronze medalist in the bantamweight division at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.
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