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Manny Pacquiao Hailed Hero by Sportswriters Association
« on: February 03, 2009, 05:36:01 PM »
Victories in three different weight classes, including two title conquests and a dominant showing against one of boxing’s all-time greats.

All of these Manny Pacquiao achieved in a 12-month span, giving him a strong case as the leading pick for the year’s top athlete honor.

Actually, make that a no-contest.

The Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA), the country’s oldest media organization, unanimously chose Pacquiao as its Athlete of the Year for 2008 following his heartwarming success in the ring and elevated Philippine boxing to a higher level.

The 30-year old boxing icon from General Santos City leads the finest sports personalities and entities of the year just past to be honored during the SMC-PSA Annual Awards Night on February 20 at the Alegria Lounge of the Manila Pavilion Hotel.

This marks the fifth time the 60-year old media group consisting of editors and sportswriters from the various national broadsheets and tabloids, is bestowing its highest award to Pacquiao, counting the similar Athlete of the Year honor awarded to him in 2002-04 and 2006.

At the same time, the PSA is also elevating the four-time world champion to the Hall of Fame, making him the first Filipino athlete to be accorded such honor while still at the peak of his career.

Past PSA Hall of Famers included bowlers Paeng Nepomuceno and Bong Coo, basketball greats Caloy Loyzaga and Lauro Mumar, pro boxers Pancho Villa and Gabriel `Flash’ Elorde, amateur boxer Mansueto `Onyok’ Velasco, tracksters Lydia De Vega and Mona Sulaiman, swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso, tennis player Felicisimo Ampon, Asia’s first Grandmaster Eugene Torre and golfers Ben Arda and Celestino Tugot.

“Manny Pacquiao has all the mark of a great athlete that while he’s still active fighting, he already deserved to be a Hall of Famer,” said PSA President Aldrin Cardona of the Daily Tribune.

Given a second look for the Athlete of the Year honor handed out yearly during the awards rite which has the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) as major sponsor and supported by Shakey’s, Accel, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Philippine Basketball League (PBL) NCRAA, ICTSI, Smart, Purefoods, Ginebra, Ever Billena, Harbour Centre and Secretary Lito Atienza, included the Women’s World Cup champion duo of Jennifer Rosales and Dorothy Delasin, young chess whiz Wesley So, wushu artist Willy Wang, boxer Nonito Donaire and golfers Angelo Que and Dottie Ardina.

None of them, however, came as close to surpassing what the boxer known as `The Pacman’ did in 2008.

The Filipino southpaw began the year with a bang, scoring a razor-thin split decision win over Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas, Nevada to wrest the World Boxing Council (WBC) super-featherweight belt.

Three months later, Pacquiao added the WBC lightweight crown to his collection by knocking out David Diaz in the ninth round of their title showdown in his first foray in the 135-pound division.

The victory gave the boxing idol his fourth world title, making him the first Filipino and Asian boxer to win belts in four different weight classes following earlier reigns in the flyweight and super-bantamweight divisions.

As if those were not enough, Pacquiao saved his best for last.

In one of the stunning upsets in boxing history, Pacquiao administered the worst beating in boxing star Oscar De La Hoya’s checkered career, stopping the former Olympic gold medalist and 10-time world champion in the eight round of their mega-welterweight showdown before an animated crowd of 15,000 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The bout billed as `The Dream Match’ was the first time Pacquiao fought at 147 pounds.

“You’re my idol. You’re the best fighter in the world,” De La Hoya told Pacquiao shortly after the convincing win that reinforced Pacquiao’s status as the best fighter in the world, pound for pound. (PNA)

Romans 10:9-10
"If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

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