Pacquiao hailed "Fighter of the Decade" by Boxing Writers Association of America
Manny Pacquiao has been proclaimed Fighter of the Decade (2000-20009) by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), besting other nominees that included Floyd Mayweather Jr., Juan Miguel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Bernard Hopkins, Joe Calzaghe, and Marco Antonio Barrera, reports ESPN.
Pacquiao will also receive his third Sugar Ray Robinson trophy as Fighter of the Year for 2009, tying with two other boxing greats, Evander Holyfield and Muhammad Ali, for the same number of awards. According to ESPN, Pacquiao will be given the title after his performance during his May 2 match against Ricky Hatton for the world junior welterweight title, which ended in a 2nd round knockout, and his November 14 fight with Miguel Cotto for the welterweight world title.
In a short statement with GMA News, Pacquiao says he is grateful to both God and his countrymen, to whom he attributes his success to.
Despite this honor, Pacquiao's most vocal critic, Floyd Mayweather Jr., says that he's doubtful about Pacquiao's flourishing boxing career, implicating performance-enhancing drugs as a reason, reports GMA News. To this, the People's Champ responded, "Ordinary fighter din naman siya dati. Bakit? Magaling na ba siya noon? Malinis ako. Nakarating ako rito sa kinalalagyan ko sa tiyaga ko, sa sipag ko, dasal sa Panginoon, at sa blessing ng Panginoon sa akin. [He was also an ordinary fighter fighter before. Was as good then as he is now? I'm clean. I am where I am now because of my determination, my hardwork, my prayers, and God's blessings.]"
ESPN reports that Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer since 2001, will also be given the Futch Award for Trainer of the Year. This would be his fourth after his 2003, 2006, and 2008 wins. Roach said that the Futch is his favorite award since it was named after his mentor, Eddie Futch. He continued by citing Pacquiao for his success, "Manny and I are a great team and to win this award, you need a great fighter."
Pacquiao and Roach will be presented with their respective awards at the BWAA's 85th annual banquet in New York on June 11.