Manny Pacquiao dominated Antionio Margarito earlier this month in Dallas, winning an eighth world title in a record setting eighth weight class (weighing anywhere from 112 all the way up to 148 lbs. in his career). At various points in the fight, it looked like Pac Man was throwing Matrix punches -- Margarito was seeing them but his reflexes just couldn't work fast enough.
Having gained a reputation as a humanitarian and as a sort of Bruce Lee-like spiritual philosopher/practitioner/technician, the Filipino won a seat in his country's national congress earlier in the year. And now his promoter Bob Abrum is comparing him to Muhammad Ali. Abrum has a career spanning almost half a century and has worked with Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran:
"I look at Manny as being the best that I've ever seen, including Ali ... Ali was a great fighter and had great, great attributes and it's really unfair to compare a big guy like Ali with a little guy like Pacquiao ... But when you look at the skill sets, Pacquiao is faster. Now you could say he is a little guy so he should be faster but Ali essentially had just the right hand. His left hand could jab and everything but it wasn't power punching ... His left and right hand hit with equal power and that is what destroys his opponents ... They train to fight a left-handed guy and they watch out for his left hand but before they know it, they are getting pummeled by the right hand ... I have never seen anything like that ... Not with (Sugar) Ray Leonard, not with Marvin Hagler, not with Duran ... I look at old movies of (Sugar) Ray Robinson and Robinson couldn't do that... So I really look at Manny now as being the best I've ever seen. I really believe that ... I have never seen a personality with a whole country behind him who live and die with his every move ... He is such a humanitarian, such a caring person for the poor and he is so consumed with doing good ... That's why I believe his accomplishments outside of boxing will eclipse anything he does in boxing, even if he is universally recognized as the greatest fighter that ever lived." (source)
Check out these clips below, including various fight highlights and peaks into Pacquaio's training regimen, and you'll see that not only is he on a mission to rival the great gods of the ring in the ring, but also to rival the best intentions a people's champion like Ali had for people and humanity outside the ring.
He may not be the Ali of the African diaspora yet, but he already rivals Ali's legacy if we compare homeland to homeland. And having the privilege of coming up after Ali's time, he may be fine tuning the formula for prolonged sustainability -- he's already planning an early retirement so he can dedicate himself to public service in The Philippines. Friend of mine asked me once, "what is a healthy ego?" Pacquiao might be an answer to that question, in the flesh. Give him a few more fights, including an elusive match-up against a seemingly nervous Floyd Mayweather, and he may win you over too.