Former featherweight world champion and British boxing icon, ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed has credited one man with changing the sport of boxing after a stellar career in the ring.
Hamed won his first thirty-five fights, collecting world titles from each of the WBC, WBO & IBF during that time and establishing himself as one of the 126lb divisions greatest ever punchers, recording thirty-one knockout victories.
The South-Yorkshireman’s unique style and charismatic nature made him a favourite with the fans, and he is often referenced as the reason why so many of today’s British fighters ever picked up the gloves.
Hamed found himself surrounded by other greats of the sport at the Fury-Ngannou clash in Riyadh. He rubbed shoulders with legends like Sugar Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes, Joe Calzaghe, Frank Bruno, Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton and Riddick Bowe, but for Hamed there was one man that he was immediately drawn to, eight-division world champion, Manny Pacquiao.
“I am going to be honest, the game-changer, has to go to the one and only, Manny Pacquiao. Eight times, eight different weights, he changed our sport forever, it’s the truth.”
Pacquiao remains the only man to have reigned as champion in eight divisions, as well as the only boxer to hold a world championship in four different decades. However, ‘Pac-man’ is not done breaking records just yet, announcing his ambition to become the first Olympic gold medallist from the Philippines.
The 45-year-old would need special permission to compete at Paris 2024, with the Philippine Olympic Committee requesting an exemption from the rule to allow Pacquiao to compete despite being five years over the age limit.