Is Manny the greatest?

Last night, Manny Pacquaio won his 7th World Championship belt. Many are now calling him the best pound for pound boxer in the world. Some are saying, especially such notables as Bob Arum, that he’s one of the best of all time. Considering what Manny has done, it’s not unreasonable. However, do we rate fighters by what they do in their weight classes or by what they can do overall? If that’s the case the small men are at a distinct disadvantage.
The Greeks are said to have created the art of boxing. According to wiki, the Spartans specifically although it was the rest of Greece that actually turned it into a competitive sport. The rules were similar to today but no weight classes. The best man won and size didn’t matter. But here’s the kicker: how many small men won? Speed and power are not the domain of any specific size but simple physics in many cases dictates that the bigger man has the advantage. Even a great fighter like Manny wins by atrition rather than the one big shot. Back in the 80’s, Roberto Duran was known as the “hands of stone” for the power in his punches. Yet, he too won most of his fights by beating on his opponent rather than knocking him out early. The big boys on the other hand have the power to take someone out early and very often do. What they give away in speed they make up in power. Before Tyson became a caricature, Foreman a frying pan salesman and Ali a cripple these men were known for fast, wicked knockouts.
So in this world who really is the best boxer? At Olympia, circa 500 BC, the one left standing, regardless of weight, was the winner. Should we bring that model back? Should there be a “playofff” of the best division winners? Would the best fighter be someone like Roy Jones, a weight class floater, who wasn’t too big but not small either? Endless discussion for sure but if Manny is the best shouldn’t he fight Vitali Klischko (all seven feet of him!)?
The guys on the MMA forum have already taken me to task for daring to say that the immortal Bruce Lee probably couldn’t take the bigger men in the MMA. SACRILEGE! Thoughts….

One Response to “Is Manny the greatest?”

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