Pacquiao simply the best of all time, says Arum

By Mark Lamport-Stokes, Reuters

Posted at Nov 17 2010 12:29 PM | Updated as of Nov 18 2010 05:09 AM

LOS ANGELES, California - When it comes to boxing, veteran promoter Bob Arum has seen it all in a career spanning almost half a century and he unwaveringly believes Manny Pacquiao has become the best fighter of all time.

Arum has worked with giants of the ring such as Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran but none of them, in his opinion, ever dominated with both fists in the manner of the diminutive Filipino southpaw.

"I look at Manny as being the best that I've ever seen, including Ali," Arum told Reuters. "Ali was a great fighter and had great, great attributes and it's really unfair to compare a big guy like Ali with a little guy like Pacquiao.

"But when you look at the skill sets, Pacquiao is faster. Now you could say he is a little guy so he should be faster but Ali essentially had just the right hand. His left hand could jab and everything but it wasn't power punching."

In Arum's view, the five-foot six-and-a-half inch (1.69m) Pacquiao is different from any other fighter because he has become completely ambidextrous.

"His left and right hand hit with equal power and that is what destroys his opponents," the 78-year-old promoter said.

"They train to fight a left-handed guy and they watch out for his left hand but before they know it, they are getting pummelled by the right hand."

Pacquiao cemented his place among the sport's elite with an unanimous points victory over Mexican Antonio Margarito in Dallas on Saturday to land an eighth world title in an unprecedented eighth weight class.

He completely outclassed his bigger and taller opponent with lightning hand speed and precise power punching, breaking Margarito's right eye socket before he claimed the vacant WBC super welterweight crown.

Two-fisted dominance

"I have never seen anything like that," Arum said of the Filipino's two-fisted dominance. "Not with (Sugar) Ray Leonard, not with Marvin Hagler, not with Duran.

"I look at old movies of (Sugar) Ray Robinson and Robinson couldn't do that. So I really look at Manny now as being the best I've ever seen. I really believe that."

While many would argue that Arum's role as a promoter is to give as much hype as possible to all the boxers in his stable, Pacquiao's career statistics are certainly remarkable.

He won the first of his world titles at just 112 pounds (51kg) and he weighed 148 (67kgs) when he stepped into the ring with Margarito at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.

Despite being 17 pounds lighter and giving away 4-½ inches in height and just over six inches in reach, 'Pacman' improved his career record to 52-3-2 with 38 knockouts.

Unlike most of his predecessors in the pantheon of boxing greats, the ever-smiling Filipino has dominated virtually every opponent who has been lined up against him in the ring.

He has also become an entertainer extraordinaire who always strives to give his legions of fans as much excitement as possible with his all-action, aggressive style.

Pacquiao's fight against Margarito was his first since he won a seat in his country's national congress earlier this year and Arum is convinced the Filipino will achieve even greater success outside the ring.

"I have never seen a personality with a whole country behind him who live and die with his every move," Arum said.

"He is such a humanitarian, such a caring person for the poor and he is so consumed with doing good.

"That's why I believe his accomplishments outside of boxing will eclipse anything he does in boxing, even if he is universally recognised as the greatest fighter that ever lived."