By Chuy Marco
Early in Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s career there was a chance that HBO would make a fight with him and Prince Naseem Hamed at featherweight, but Prince never fought again after his 2002 win over Manuel Calvo.
Pacquiao first fought on HBO in 2001 and defeated some African boxer with a title named Ledwaba after that he fought a few cans before fighting and beating a distracted Marco Antonio Barrera in 2003.
If Prince Naseem never retired from boxing and Manny Pacquiao went up from 122 to 126-pounds to fight Naseem as his first fight in the division instead of Barrera, the Manny Pacquiao today would never exist because his career would have been ruined after a brutal beating by Naseem. Pacman would be back in the Philippines fighting taxi drivers instead of heading HBO ppv’s.
I don’t even think it’s debatable, Prince Naseem Hamed was the hardest hitting featherweight puncher at the time. He could ice you with one shot and was a true puncher unlike Manny Pacquiao who just fights guys at the right moment and only has 1 one-punch knockout in his career and that’s against Ricky Hatton.
I know some of you Pacquiao fans will say Marco Antonio Barrera beat Prince Naseem and Pacquiao beat Barrera, but that means nothing because the styles make the fights and Naseem wasn’t the same for the Barrera fight, he didn’t train hard and already lost his hunger for boxing. If Manny came at a prime Hamed with that wild leaping punches Hamed would just lean back and throw a sneaky uppercut and drop Manny cold.
Video highlight of Prince Naseem Hamed
Pacquiao’s wild punching style would be easy for a slick power puncher like Hamed to beat. Hamed only had trouble with real technical boxers with intelligence like Barrera, but a guy who doesn’t have much ring smarts like Pacman would get eaten alive by a slick puncher like Hamed.
If I were Manny Pacquiao, I would thank Prince Naseem Hamed for never fighting him because by not fighting Manny, he saved him from being just another bum fighter from overseas who had a little bit of shine but never became anything — and that’s what Pacquiao would be if Naseem beat him — just another bum.
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