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Pacquiao Does Hollywood in 2021

Photo: Premier Boxing Champions

The title of this article seems improbable if you turn back the clock on the career of Senator Manny Pacquiao.

A career that began in his native Philippines 26 years ago when the ‘Pac Man’ was 16 years old, with the fighter growing up poor in a family that reportedly had to eat the family dog to survive.

As Pacquiao’s career progressed, an encounter at the Wild Card Gym while working the pads with a trainer who was most likely already a Hall of Famer in Freddie Roach spawned a relationship that moved Team Pacquiao 8,000 miles to the United States with titles won in the lower divisions of the sport.

The career of the southpaw climbed and climbed, as the Hollywood year progressed, with two knockout losses in the 1990’s turning into distant memories as wars were fought and rivalries were began against Mexican fighters Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Back in 2005 Pacquiao registered a loss in the ring for the first time since 1999 when he met Erik Morales, yet a bounce back knockout win followed by a rematch against Morales, also a knockout win, steered Pacquiao’s career back onto course. Pacquiao again defeated Barrera and Marquez in succession before a career defining matchup with Oscar De La Hoya in what represented a career jump in weight classes to welterweight.

If it was unfathomable that the 3-1 underdog Pacquiao would stop De La Hoya in eight rounds, it was equally unfathomable that Pacquiao, who debuted as a 106 pound light-flyweight in January 1995, would continue to have success at welterweight with knockout wins against Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey.

Pacquiao’s career further ascended into a higher division, with a middleweight title win over Antonio Margarito earning Pacquiao the distinction of boxing only eight-division title holder.

Following a return down to welterweight with a win over Shane Mosley, as well as another fight against Maqruez which was declared a draw after their third pairing, Pacquiao’s boxing career was supposed to end.

Pacquiao had registered his first loss since the Morales fight when he faced Timothy Bradley in a widely panned split decision loss in June 2012, after which Pacquaio signed on four another Marquez bout.

On December 8, 2012, this writer witnessed Pacquiao get sent head first to the canvas in the Fight of the Year, Round of The Year and Knockout of the Year winning fourth bout against Marquez. The fighters traded knockdowns and Marquez caught Pacquaio on the inside in the closing seconds of round six.

Pacquiao’s career was supposed to be over in Christmastime 2012.

Yet Pacquiao had other plans, taking almost a year off before flying trainer Roach to China to face Brandon Rios in a return bout in 2013.

After a few more welterweight wins against Bradley and Chris Algeri, Pacquiao’s was again faced with a career ending loss when he met Floyd Mayeather in 2015. The highest grossing fight in boxing history was a decision loss to Mayweather, yet Pacquiao pressed forward and headed into the late 2015’s with wins against Bradley and Jessie Vargas.

Another loss came in a disputed decision against Jeff Horn in July 2017 in Australia, which brought about a brief breakup with Hollywood as Pacquaio elected to sit Roach, part ways with career promotional outfit Top Rank and score a knockout win over Lucas Matthysse for a welterweight title followed up with a title defense over Adrien Broner.

Two years ago, Pacquiao, reunited with Roach, became the oldest welterweight champion in boxing history when he knocked down and outpointed Keith Thurman in Las Vegas.

Fast forward to two weeks from now, as Pacquiao will look to extend his reign as oldest welterweight champion in boxing history when he faces top rated, unified welterweight title holder Errol Spence.

Odds against Pacquiao in 2008 against De La Hoya were 3-1.

Odds against Spence in 2021 are 2-1.

The title of this article doesn’t make sense, yet perhaps that’s what will propel the unfathomable to occur again on August 21, 2021 in Las Vegas.

Hollywood ending? Perhaps.

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