NEW YORK (June 18) — In an event considered as “The Academy Awards of Boxing”, Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao received another feat from the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) on Friday June 12 during BWAA’s 84th Annual Award Dinner.
For the second time in his boxing career, he was honored with the BWAA’s Edward J. Neil “Fighter of the Year Award for 2008” at the Capitale at 130 Bowery in Manhattan. Pacquiao was also bestowed with the Neil award in 2006.
In 2008, Pacquaio won three fights. He won his rematch against Juan Manuel Marquez in March. As he moved to lightweight in June, he stopped champion David Diaz in nine rounds. After moving up to welterweight, he defeated Oscar dela Hoya in December.
In announcing the winner of the coveted prize, BWAA President Jack Hirsch said: “To give you an idea of how hard it is to win a BWAA Fighter of the Year award, consider this. The great Willie Pep, one of the best pure boxers in the history of the sport never won the BWAA Fighter of the Year award, not even Roy Jones. The incomparable Frankie Roy Robinson considered by yours to be the best five all time pound-for-pound, won the BWAA Fighter of the year award one time in his 25-year career. And Manny Pacquiao has now won it twice and judging by the start he got off in 2009 defeating Ricky Hatton in such sensational manner, he’s well on his way to win his Fighter of the Year award number 3.”
As he prepared to accept the award, Pacquiao, who was wearing a dark suit and a gray tie, was given a standing ovation which lasted sometime until the audience quieted down to hear him speak. In accepting the award, Pacquiao said it was a “great honor” to have been chosen as fighter of the year.
“Choosing me as the figther of the year in 2006 was the highest accolade in my boxing career. Giving it to me for the second time leaves me with no words to express the joy and how grateful I feel,” he said, while his wife, Jinkee, looked at him.
“It would surely pain me not to come accept this prestigious award personally. I want to let you know that it is a privilege to personally receive this award and thank everybody for their trust and confidence you have given me,” he added.
He also thanked his home country, his family, his promoter Bob Arum, trainer Freddie Roach, and members of his team. He expressed hope that his award will inspire young fighters to “believe in themselves and keep on dreaming big” and prodded them to “always remember, your dreams will always be inside you. No one can take it away.”
Pacquiao continued to say that the award he received is “larger than life” and acknowledged that he alone was not responsible for his accomplishments but that he made it with the “help and support of many people.”
“I’d like to take this rare opportunity to thank all of them, especially to our God. Without God I am not here. For all the blessings He gave me, thank you,” he said.
His trainer, Freddie Roach, was likewise honored by the BWAA with the Futch-Condon Award as “Trainer of the year.” It was his third having received the same honor in 2003 and 2006.
Pacquiao was supposed to proceed to Los Angeles to throw the first pitch in a Dodgers game on June 17 but was cancelled due to another commitment. Matt Rousso, Account Executive, Season Sales of the Los Angeles Dodgers, apologized for posting incorrect information. Rousso said: “The short story is that Manny was kinda booked then Manny’s folks had to cancel but the folks from the Dodgers front office didn’t communicate the cancellation.”
He is scheduled to fight in October against three potential opponents: Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto or Shane Mosley. However, according to an Associated Press report, Richard Schaefer, chief executive of the Golden Boy Promotions, told them Mayweather “has been in tremendous pain since suffering an injury during training” last week. Mayweather has damaged cartilage in his ribs and will stop training for his comeback fight with Juan Manuel Marquez on July 18 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. A re-scheduled match on September has been floated around but promoters and fighters won’t agree until cleared by doctors.
Mayweather has not boxed since December 2007 when he knocked out Ricky Hatton. He abruptly retired in June 2008 but announced his comeback before Pacquiao’s bout with Hatton last month. If Mayweather beats Marquez first, a Mayweather-Pacquiao match is possible.
But with Cotto winning by decision defending his WBO welterweight title over Joshua Clottey on June 13 at the Madison Square Garden, promoter Bob Arum also wants to set up a Pacquiao-Cotto fight in November, the earliest Cotto can get back into the ring. Cotto had a big gash over his left eye that required six stitches.
Cotto could face WBA champ Shane Mosley in a rematch of their 2007 bout or he could fight Mayweather.