Before getting started on this, I hopped on social media, which has become for me what I imagine it must be like to punch in at Walmart: a chore and a necessary evil.
In doing so I came across the “Christmas Card” Floyd Mayweather sent out to the entire world via Twitter.
The rather ridiculous and childish “card” had nothing to do with wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas (which I extend to you and yours now), rather, it satired Manny Pacquiao and his so very 2012 loss to Marquez as we approach the dawn of 2014.
Floyd, when you’re the best pound for pound fighter in the world and a much debated fighter is within your grasp to end all debates… You don’t turn to Twitter. You turn to a contract.
The real joke- is on you.
It’s all there with these two, and count me among those with a curious fascination in past vs. present scenarios between fighters.
I find it intoxicating and irresistible.
When I think of Armstrong as a poor railroad worker in Mississippi who read about 30’s featherweight champ “Kid Chocolate” making $70,000 for a fight during “The Great Depression”, I think of him quitting right then and there to become a fighter.
It is the only time he ever quit at anything.
There are those who would rank Armstrong #2 all-time among the very greatest fighters to have ever lived, and you won’t get me to argue with that.
In a time when there were only 8 titles for 8 weight classes, to think that he owned 3 of them (he was the lineal featherweight, lightweight and welterweight champion) simultaneously, is a ridiculously incredible achievement.
Pacquiao winning 8 titles in 8 different divisions is even more remarkable, and the fact that they are so similar in makeup- makes this dream match-up between all-time greats simply extraordinary.
MANNY PACQUIAO VS. HENRY ARMSTRONG
Part of the fun for me is dialing up which versions of these fighters are going against each other. History is a strange thing for boxers. They’ll get better – and worse than they were, as time goes on.
In terms of pure accomplishment, “Homicide Hank” reigns supreme; when you include 121 KO’s out of 151 career wins or his 27 bout knockout streak in 1937.
I’m putting a 25 year-old Armstrong of 1938- the one who beat Barney Ross for the welterweight title at 133.5lbs, against the Pacquiao of 2009 who mauled Ricky Hatton at super lightweight.
I don’t think that Armstrong can beat this Pacquiao.
This is where things get tricky in comparing eras, but the modern era we’re in now has been advanced in part because of blueprints left by pioneers such as Armstrong.
Manny’s deft footwork, vision, speed, accuracy and sheer ferocity would’ve eclipsed the fighting acumen of Henry. It would be an overwhelming display of offense, but Armstrong had one glaring habit that would get him stopped rather brutally.
He came forward all the time in perpetual motion, raining punches on his opponent, return artillery be damned. But when he came forward he offered little head movement, was tight in the hips, he wound his punches and he looked down a lot.
Against the early 2009 Pacquiao, all of this would have been suicide.
Because he was unusually strong and had such a resolve and purpose that Ricky Hatton could only dream of, the great Armstrong extends and pushes Pacquiao as the fight heads to the middle to late rounds.
But by then, Pacquiao has found ways to strike Armstrong at will, with a more advanced offense- if not more of it. Pacquiao's pure speed and damaging punch ability, surpasses Armstrong’s heavy punching volume.
The bottom line is Henry’s style just makes this a very favorable match-up for Pacquiao. He would rock “Pacman” a few times, but in the end he’d wind up just getting the hell beat out of him. Armstrong had heavy fists and grinded his opposition out before the distance from attrition.
He’d get out grinded this time.
In one of the greatest fights we’d ever see in this life or the next, Manny Pacquiao stops a relentless Henry Armstrong via 10th round TKO.