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There Will Never Be An MMA Manny Pacquiao

On Saturday the incomparable Manny Pacquiao dispatched another overmatched opponent. Will we ever see his like in MMA competition? Jonathan Snowden doesn't think it's likely.

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Manny Pacquiao didn't just outclass Shane Mosley over twelve rounds at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Saturday night. He didn't just beat him up - he sheered his pin, took the starch out of him, left weird lumps all over his head. I swear one of those left hands knocked the earwax right out of Mosley's ear.

What's most amazing about Pacquiao isn't his world class speed and power, his indomitable will, even his hundreds of millions of dollars. What's amazing is that he just beat one of the world's top welterweights and made it look easy - despite winning his first world title at flyweight. For those not familiar with boxing's seven thousand weight classes, flyweight has a maximum weight of 112 pounds. Welterweight? 147 pounds.

There's a reason Pacquiao looks like every opponent's little brother. He's outsized and seemingly overmatched in every fight. That's how superlative his skill, how big his heart. And Pacquiao doesn't just come into new weight classes and dance his way to victory. He comes in for the kill. Witness his fight with Mosley. Pacquiao had what he must have known was an enormous lead on the scorecards when referee Kenny Bayless incorrectly called a knockdown in the tenth round.

Pacquiao didn't see it as a wakeup call to be more careful. For the champion it was infuriating, maddening, unacceptable. He lept into action with renewed fire in his belly. Although he didn't get the knockout in the last two and a half rounds, it wasn't for lack of trying. Pacquiao's power has defied the odds every bit as much as he has, inexplicably staying with him as he journeyed through eight weight classes. He knocked out Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto as a welterweight. The MMA equivalent would be Frankie Edgar moving up to middleweight to knockout  Anderson Silva, something that is, frankly, unthinkable.

There will never be an MMA star who walks the road Manny Pacquiao has. In mixed martial arts the weight means more than added power or additional armor. It also plays heavily in the action on the ground. It's much easier to punch a bigger man in the nose than it is to make him budge when he's laying on top of you.

Boxing, though dubbed "the sweet science," is actually charmingly simple. Fighters have to be concerned about punches coming from the left hand and the right hand. That's it. Anyone trying to sing another tune is selling something. It's this simplicity that has allowed Manny Pacquiao to rule the roost in eight different weight classes. Enjoy him while you can. When MMA assumes the throne as king of combat sports, there will never be another Manny Pacquiao.