Thursday's question: Who is currently the face of boxing?
Reporters from around the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to chime in and tell them why they are wrong.
Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times
Manny Pacquiao. The “People’s Champion” of the Philippines has emerged as the sport’s biggest draw by routinely unleashing furious entertainment of speed and power, dismantling Oscar De La Hoya 11 months ago and stunning boxing vets by moving up in weight so effectively. In May, boxing’s 2008 fighter of the year scored the knockout of the year with his second-round removal of 140-pound Ricky Hatton. His smile and good humor outside the ring win him a still-building audience expected to make his Saturday night fight against world welterweight champion Miguel Cotto the most lucrative bout of the year. Pacquiao, 30, receives a guaranteed $7.5 million purse for the fight, and another impressive triumph will set up what some are referring to as boxing’s Super Bowl, a date against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant
The face of boxing will be on display Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Critics who say the sport lacks star power haven’t been paying attention. Not only is Manny Pacquiao the best fighter of his generation, but we’re witnessing one of the great careers in history.
If Pacquiao beats Miguel Cotto for the WBO welterweight title – and we fully expect him to win – he will be the first boxer in history to win titles in seven weight classes. Think about that: Pacquiao has won championships from 112 pounds through 140 pounds.
That’s a record for the ages, whether the mainstream sports fan has noticed or not. Around the world, Pacquiao is a star and recognized as an elite athlete. In the U.S., he’s a peripheral figure in a peripheral sport.
So blame his sport for losing fans and relevance over the past decade or so. But give Pacquiao his due as one of the greats in his game.