Pacquiao off for BWAA Fighter of Decade award

MANILA, Philippines -  Manny Pacquiao flies to New York today to receive his Fighter of the Decade award from the Boxing Writers Association of America, and take a much-deserved family vacation off the waters of Mexico, on board a 120-foot yacht.

The BWAA Awards will take place on June 4 at the Roosevelt Hotel at Madison Avenue and 45th Street in midtown Manhattan, and the presence of the Filipino boxing icon will provide the glitter needed in this night of boxing.

A check with the BWAA website showed that Pacquiao will be the first boxer to receive the Fighter of the Decade award.

Pacquiao leaves with his family, including his wife Jinkee, with twin sister Janette, their kids Michael, Jimwell and Princess, and their nannies, as well as the boxer’s Canadian adviser, Mike Koncz, on an evening flight.

Koncz said Pacquiao isn’t sure yet if he’d be at ringside of the Miguel Cotto-Yuri Foreman light-middleweight contest on June 5 at the Yankee Stadium. If Cotto wins, there’s a chance he might face Pacquiao in November.

A couple of meetings in New York will take some of Pacquiao’s time. Then it’s off to Mexico for a couple of days of vacation to be hosted by Fernando Beltran, the amiable boxing figure from Mexico, according to Koncz.

“We’re heading off to an undisclosed place,” said the boxer’s adviser, who gave a clue of how grand it’s going to be when he added that they’d board a luxurious yacht to “enjoy some privacy in the middle of the water.”

All trips to and from Mexico will be on board a private plane, something Pacquiao is now accustomed to.

Koncz said while there’s no date yet on their return flight to Manila, he said Pacquiao should be back either on the 12th or 13th of June because his crash course on governance at the University of the Philippines will start on the 14th.

The 31-year-old Pacquiao was elected congressman in his home province of Sarangani during the May 10 elections, and became the first boxer, active or retired, ever to be elected to the House of Representatives.

Pacquiao received his first Fighter of the Year award in 2006 following his smashing victories over Erik Morales. Then in 2008, he was honored once more for his wins over Juan Manuel Marquez, David Diaz and Oscar dela Hoya.

Freddie Roach will also receive the Trainer of the Year award, his fourth.

Pacquiao, the only boxer to win seven world titles in seven different weight classes, is only the fifth fighter in history to win the prestigious award three times -- next to Muhammad Ali, Jose Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard and Evander Holyfield.

Ali, who will be remembered as “The Greatest,” won the award in 1965, 1974 and 1975, the year he shared it with Frazier who had won its previously in 1961 and 1971. It was in 1975 that Ali and Frazier staged the historic “Thrilla in Manila.”

Leonard won it in 1976, 1979 and 1981 while Holyfield earned the nod of the BWAA in 1990, 1996 and 1997. Among the two-time winners are Floyd Patterson, Carmen Basilio, Dick Tiger, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Mike Tyson.

Oscar dela Hoya, known as boxing’s golden boy, only won the award once, in 1995. as well as Ricky Hatton in 2005 and Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2007. The fact that Pacquiao has won it thrice only cements his status as the best there is today.

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