Snapshots of his physique are suggestive that Manny’s time as super featherweight is fast coming to an end.
At 28, Manny will continue to add up weight. Scaling down to his best fighting weight right now will become an uphill battle and could affect his performance in the ring.
Forget about the suggestions that Manny is too short to become an effective full lightweight.
Reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight king David Diaz is only as tall as Manny. The World Boxing Association champ, Juan Diaz is likewise about Manny’s height. WBC’s Joel Casamayor is no taller than Erik Morales, whom Pacquiao beat twice by knockout. International Boxing Federation title holder Julio Diaz is as tall as Morales.
These boxers are nowhere near the radar as pound for pound greats at the moment. That is not to belittle their records or their stature as champions but, certainly, Manny has more than a longshot of chance against them atop the ring.
They may not bring in the moolah he is getting from fighting the likes of the Moraleses, Barreras and Marquezes but many super featherweight pretenders and contenders will likely follow him up the scales – Manny being undoubtedly one of today’s biggest draw in boxing.
Two more fights in the super featherweight limits and that should be it and go on to conquer the lightweight class.
Manny has proven himself as a terrific hard puncher and has taken the best shots of his contemporaries. He packs power in both hands that could knockout some welterweights.
When he last fought Morales, Pacquiao was reported to have tipped the scales at 144 pounds at fight night.
That’s just a shade under the regular welterweight limit.
Not only is Manny helping himself and his body by moving up in weight. He is also getting a shot at boxing immortality. No boxer has ever started as a flyweight, become champion in the division and move on to become a title holder in the lightweight division while adding up titles in the super bantamweight and super featherweight class along the way.
That what will make him so special, notwithstanding the accolade that awaits him as being the only Filipino and Asian pugilist to do so should he pull off the trick. (Edwin G. Espejo was a former editor of SunStar General Santos).