Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pacquiao doesn't need belts, the way he administers a whuppin'

The subject, as usual, is Manny Pacquiao and the issue is whether it matters that no welterweight belt will be at stake when he fights Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 at a catch weight of 145.

You won’t often find me agreeing with Bob Arum and disagreeing with Michael Marley and dSource Guillermo here on, but . . .

Marley and dSource think a beltless fight is a travesty, and so do a lot of Pacquiao fans, because he can’t set the all-time record for divisions ruled unless he’s winning belts, willy-nilly. He won a lightweight belt for beating David Diaz 13 months ago, to go with five others he’s won from flyweight to junior lightweight, but he got none for beating Oscar De La Hoya or Ricky Hatton subsequently.

Apparently, then, the two fights that have sextupled Pacquiao’s Q ratings don’t mean squat without the imprimatur of the WBO.

Arum, the promoter who is a primary beneficiary of Pacquiao’s eminence, says Pacquiao don’t need no stinkin’ belt for beating Cotto, or anyone, as long as he ranks No. 1 or even No. 2 on the mythical pound-for-pound list.

Arum is being pragmatic, as usual, trying to save himself and the two fighters $340,000, but his position has appeal for a boxing idealist. The lust for the 70-odd belts that signify world titles these days seems so shallow, so, well, Western, that one might have hoped Filipinos would proclaim themselves above this fray. But Marley supposedly received 18,000 e-mails via and Pacquiao’s site that reflected heavy support for Marley’s stance. (See his cameo appearance on HBO’s artistic “Assault in the Ring” documentary, reviewed July 16, which premieres this weekend.) And Guillermo guarantees that Pacquiao’s fans, especially his Filipino fans, will shun the Cotto fight if the record isn’t at stake.

Marley and your Welterweight Champion here both go back to the days when there were eight belts, when having one actually meant something. But even then, accumulating several would not have assured ascendance.

When I think of Sugar Ray Robinson’s records, I’m thinking Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington, not “most knockouts rendered in rounds seven through nine” or “belts won.” Pacquiao’s legacy is entering the Robinson realm, which far eclipses all six belts won by De La Hoya.

So I’m with Arum. Belts, shmelts.

Source: (July 29, 2009)

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