Saturday, July 25, 2009
Pacquiao Beats MMA Stars for ESPY Award By: James U. Sy Jr.
Filipino Boxing champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao was voted “Fighter of the Year” during the 2009 ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards last July 15, 2009, besting UFC champions Lyoto Machida (Karate) and Anderson Silva (Muay Thai) and fellow boxer Sugar Shane Mosley.
Pacquiao of the Philippines (B: 1978) had odds of -300 to capture the award. His sensational 2nd round KO of Richard “Ricky” John Hatton of Great Britain (B: 1978) and his 8th round stoppage of Oscar “The Golden Boy” De La Hoya of the USA (B: 1973) snatched the award for him.
2 time IBF and IBO light welterweight champion Hatton is formerly the WBA welterweight and WBU/WBA light welterweight champion as well as the former WBC/WBA/WBO intercontinental light welterweight and Ring Magazine junior welterweight champion.
Barcelona Olympic gold medalist de la Hoya has a more impressive record, having captured 10 world titles in six different weight classes.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, is the first Filipino and Asian boxer to win five world titles in five different weight divisions; he was a former world champion in the lightweight (WBC), super featherweight (WBC), super bantamweight (IBF), and flyweight (WBC) divisions and is currently the IBO and Ring Magazine light welterweight champion. He has also held the Ring Magazine crowns for featherweight, super featherweight, and light welterweight divisions. Pacquiao is rated by Ring Magazine as the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world. He is also the first boxer to win the lineal championship in four different weight classes.
Both Machida and Silva gave sensational performances during the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) 100 to be nominated for the “Fighter of the Year.”
The nomination of Machida and Silva, however, is the first time that more than one Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters were nominated for the award. In 2008, UFC champion Georges St. Pierre (Karate) was the first ever MMA fighter to be nominated for the award.
The ESPY Awards is a yearly sports awards event organized by cable TV network ESPN. Winners are chosen exclusively through online fan voting.