A quarter of a century ago today, a future all-time great (some say THE greatest of them all) boxed his very first professional boxing match. A 16 year old Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, who would go on to be celebrated across the planet as Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, beat a fellow Filipino named Edmund Ignacio over four rounds.
Manny tipped-in at all of 106 pounds. Becoming a hit fast due to his all-action, recklessly thrilling, no reverse style and approach, the dirt poor southpaw got himself on TV and he began to earn some money. It really is quite astonishing how much Pacquiao would go on to achieve: the only boxer in the long history of the sport to win 12 major world titles in a staggering eight different weight divisions, the first man in history to win the lineal title in five different weight divisions, the only boxer in history to have reigned as a world champion across four separate decades.
Wow, is pretty much all we can say, and we sure do say it. Yet incredibly, Pacquiao, 62-7-2(39) and now aged 41, is not done yet. Far from it. The skinny, penniless kid from Kibawe, Bukidnon is in the frame for some monster paydays this year, with potential fights with Conor McGregor (in a boxing/MMA crossover affair) and Floyd Mayweather (in a rematch, one that refuses to go away) here in 2020.
The current WBA welterweight king, courtesy of his ‘he’s-still-got-it-at-the-highest-level’ win over an unbeaten Keith Thurman last July, Pacquiao is still hot, he is still one of the fastest fighters in the world and he has options. And this at a time when most fighters who have been around as long as Pacquiao has and is as old as he is have called it a day. Indeed, living legend is the only accurate description one can use when talking about, or writing about, Pac Man.
As for the man who enjoys a footnote place in boxing history due to his being the first man to fight Pacquiao in a pro bout, Ignacio finished up at 8 wins, 24 defeats, three draws, with 1 KO. Retiring in 2001, Ignacio was nevertheless a game and durable fighter. Pacquiao was unable to stop him, in fact only one man ever KO’d Ignacio, this being Filipino Jovy Agustin, who scored a TKO win over Ignacio in December of 1996.
They sure breed ’em tough in the Philippines.