By John F. McKenna (McJack)
Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson who was recently inducted into the boxing Hall of Fame along with Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns and trainer Freddie Roach took several swipes at future hall of famer WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO’s).
Johnson’s most serious assertion is that in his words Manny fought “dead men” in his rise to pugilistic stardom.
Pacquiao rose up from Flyweight all the way up to where he now fights at welterweight, winning championship belts in eight divisions along the way, a feat never before accomplished in boxing.
During his rise to the top “Pacman” defeated Marco Antonio Barrera in his first fight at featherweight. Manny also defeated Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley.
Not all of those fighters were “dead men” as “Too Sharp” Johnson refers to them. Pacquiao was selected as Fighter of the Year by boxing writers for the years 2006, 2008 and 2009. Boxing writers also picked Manny Pacquiao as the fighter of the decade for the years from 2000 to 2009. His knockout of Ricky Hatton in 2009 was selected as Knockout of the Year. For the last couple of years Manny has been the reigning top Pound for Pound fighter in boxing.
Granted Manny’s star has fallen to some extent after his less then stellar performance against his long time nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12. Still The Ring Magazine has Manny ranked at the top of the Pound for Pound list.
Johnson called out fighters like Johnny Tapia, Michael Carbjal and Ricardo Lopez. It is doubtful if these fighters ducked Johnson because he was perceived to be too much of a threat. Fighting “Too Sharp” would not have brought them the kind of money they wanted.
Just because a champion does not fight everyone who calls him out does not mean he fears them. There have been lots of fighters who have called Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao over the years. It is a way for a fighter to raise his own public awareness in the fistic arena.
It is difficult to assess how good a fighter is while he is still active. The perception constantly changes. The perception of Manny Pacquiao changed after his latest fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. Muhammad Ali’s greatness as a fighter would have been judged entirely different if he had retired after his 3rd fight with Ken Norton. The jury is still out on Manny Pacquiao. The final chapter is yet to be written.
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