14/11/2009 09:10

Las Vegas, NV - So much has been written about the rabid almost cult-like devotion of Manny Pacquiao's fans. They have been called every possible unprintable moniker and labeled as someone who is fond of clinging to a certain sensitive anatomical part of the Filipino fighter.

Google Pacquiao and one will be directed to a multitude of web sites. Thousands of articles about him are generated each day that bring financial windfall to big and small web sites alike. A hundred fold more blogs and comments accompany each article written. The internet traffic generated by Manny Pacquiao is simply staggering and mind boggling. It is not unusual to see a title of an internet article insinuating it is about Manny Pacquiao but ends up it has absolutely nothing to do with him. But almost anything about Pacquaio assures a click of the mouse and the sound of a cash register.

It definitely helps that the substantial majority of Pacquiao fans are computer and internet savvy. The passion of his followers is very evident on this modern day electronic forum. The good, the bad and the ugly about Pacquiao fans are strewn all over in the vastness of cyberspace.

Boxing purists disdain these new boxing fans. Are they really boxing fans or are they simply nothing but Manny Pacquiao star-struck supporters? Are they good for boxing? Do they represent the fresh legs that boxing sorely needs to support its survival in its struggle to compete with MMA and other spectator sports for the fans hard earned dollars?

Or are Pacquiao fans simply in for the spectacular ride Pacquiao is having? Will they disappear as fast as they appeared when Pacquiao eventually hangs up the gloves and pursue other career opportunities? Will they represent the new generation of boxing fans that will sustain boxing’s popularity to unprecedented heights?

Who are these fans?

Pacquiao fans appear to come from all sectors of society, from the downtrodden to the elite. It is not unusual to see a gathering of Pacquiao followers represented by lowly street vendors, lawyers, doctors, politicians, moms and everyday people engaged in animated discussion about boxing in general and Pacquiao in particular.

Are they bad for boxing as purists claim?

I would not be surprised if these new boxing fans think Iran Barkley is an NBA Hall of Famer, Sugar Ray Robinson is a baseball great and the multi weight champion Henry Armstrong is the same guy who pedals up the mountains of France.
But does it matter?

The 70’s and 80’s was a great era for boxing then the mediocre 90’s and early 2000’s. Right now, boxing is having some sort of a renaissance. Manny Pacquiao had a considerable impact on this resurgence of boxing and indirectly his very loyal fans. New and exciting talented fighters are in the horizon raring to replace the high profile and marketable but aging fighters.

Yesterday, when the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in one of her official functions during a Town Hall meeting at the University of Santo Tomas, a university older than Harvard, talked about Manny Pacquiao and picked him to win, then we know boxing is doing well, thanks to its fans.

Are Pacquiao fans, boxing fans? They may not be the most knowledgeable of boxing’s history but you bet they are and it is good for boxing.