ONE can understand why boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is not receptive to the idea of his son, Emmanuel ‘Jimuel’ Pacquiao Jr., following in his footsteps.
It’s not like the Jimuel is asking his father permission to take up bowling. Heck, those bowling pins do not hit back. Jimuel wants to lace on the gloves and trade punches with another boxer in the ring.
Pacquiao knows the dangers that lurk once a fighter steps into the ring. Pacquiao did not win a record eight division titles without stepping on a few landmines. Then again, it appears that Jimuel’s mind is all made up and there is no discouraging him from hitting the sandbag.
Jimuel recently took part in an exhibition bout opposite Lucas Carson. And while the fight was ruled a draw, it was evident that the kid cannot wait to return to the ring. Oh, he did land some nasty right hands that rocked Carson down to his toenails.
If Jimuel ends up taking the boxing plunge like his father, he will not be the first to do so. There have been instances in the past where the son followed in his champion dad’s footsteps. Unfortunately, only a few of them were able to duplicate their fathers’ success in the squared circle.
The record book shows that the first father-and-son tandem to be crowned world champions were Mexican Guty Espadas Sr. and his son Guty Jr.
Espadas Sr. captured the WBA flyweight title in October 1976 with a 13th-round knockout win over Alfonso Lopez. Espadas Sr. held the belt until August 1978, when he was outpointed by Betulio Gonzalez. Some twenty-two years later, on April 14, 2000, Espadas Jr. also became a world champion when he defeated Filipino Luisito Espinosa for the vacant WBC featherweight (126 lbs.) championship. Espadas Jr.’s reign lasted just 10 months as he yielded the crown to fellow Mexican Erik Morales in February 2001.
The Espadases are the first full-blooded father and son to be crowned world champions. American Tracy Harris Patterson actually won the WBC junior featherweight crown (122 lbs.) diadem in June 1992 to duplicate his father Floyd Patterson’s world title feat in November 1956 (stopped Archie Moore in 5 rounds for the world heavyweight crown). However, Tracy Harris was only the adopted son of Floyd, making the Espadases’ feat more genuine.
Thereafter, the only successful father-and-son tandems were Leon and son Cory Spinks, Wilfredo Vasquez Sr. and Wilfredo Jr., and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. and Chavez Jr.
On February 15, 1978, Leon Spinks scored an upset decision win over Muhammad Ali to win the world heavyweight title. Spinks’ reign was disappointingly short, as he lost the crown to Ali in a rematch on September 15, 1978. Unknown to many, Leon Spinks had a son who also pursued a career in the light heavyweight division. Unfortunately, Leon Calvin was killed in July 1990.
Some twenty-five years after Leon lost the heavyweight crown, in March 2003, his son Cory Spinks ascended to the IBF welterweight throne by beating Michele Piccirillo. Cory Spinks enjoyed a lengthy and more successful reign than his father as he went on to unify the 147-pound crown before losing to Zab Judah in February 2005. Cory became a champion in a second division in 2007, when he bagged the IBF junior middleweight title (154 lbs.), but he was dethroned within the same year.
In February 2010, Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. also became a world champion like his father when he stopped Filipino Marvin Sonsona to win the vacant WBO junior featherweight title. Vazquez Jr.’s coronation came some 23 years after his father Wilfredo Sr. captured the WBA bantamweight (118 lbs.) crown. Vazquez Sr. had a Hall of Fame career, winning three division titles and taking on no less than 14 world champions. Vazquez Jr. was actually studying to take up law when he decided to box.
Easily the most famous father-and-son tandem is Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. and his son Julio Jr. The elder Chavez is recognized as the greatest champion in the history of Mexico, winning no less than three division crowns. The younger Chavez won the WBC middleweight title in 2011, but he was, for the most part of his career, a disappointment. Born with a silver spoon, err golden glove, Chavez Jr. did not inherit his father’s work ethic and often showed up in his fights with a variety of conditioning issues.
Jimuel would be looking to join a very exclusive list in pro boxing. It will not be easy considering the prevailing consensus that the sons often fail because they are not as motivated as their fathers, having been pampered on their way to the fight game. Pacquiao took up boxing as his ticket out of poverty, a source of motivation Jimuel will never know. Chavez Sr. grew up in an abandoned railroad and, true enough, his son Chavez Jr. failed miserably because the latter preferred to train in the comforts of his air-conditioned room.
The biggest challenge for the son is to cast his own shadow. It is easier said than done, but then again it will be interesting how far Jimuel will go in the sport.
Do not underestimate the kid; after all, he is a Pacquiao.