Manny Pacquiao: Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year

No athlete accomplished more in his or her sport in 2009 than Manny Pacquiao did in boxing. No athlete did more for his or her country in 2009 than Pacquiao did for the Philippines. No athlete in 2009 better exemplified the ideals of sportsmanship, grace under pressure and determination than Pacquiao. No athlete was a better choice in 2009 as Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year than Pacquiao. Alas, the magazine’s many esteemed editors and writers on Monday awarded the honor to New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who is one of the great players in history and a good guy on top of it. But it was Jeter who came to see Pacquiao compete and not the other way around. In May, Pacquiao scored a pair of stunning knockouts, stopping Ricky Hatton in the second round to become the linear super lightweight champion. He moved up again in November and knocked out Miguel Cotto in the 12th to win the World Boxing Organization welterweight title. If you’re counting, that’s five sanctioning body championship belts and two linear championships. As much as Jeter does for charity, can anyone with a straight face suggest he does more for his community than Pacquiao does for the Philippines, where he has become a national icon? When typhoons struck the Philippines as Pacquiao was preparing to face Cotto, he literally thrust himself into the eye of the storm to provide aid. No boxer has won the award since Sugar Ray Leonard in 1981 and a non-American hasn’t won since Sammy Sosa in 1998. That made Pacquiao something of a long shot. Derek Jeter was a good choice. Manny Pacquiao, though, would have been the perfect choice. With that, let’s hop right into the boxing mailbag as I answer your questions and comments.


Post a Comment