NEW YORK (Reuters) - Manny Pacquiao has been named fighter of the decade by the Boxing Writers Association of America on top of his third fighter of the year award.
The newly elected Philippines congressman was the overwhelming winner of the annual award after a year in which he sealed a record seventh weight division world title.
“I overflow with joy and gratitude,” said Pacquiao in his acceptance speech in New York on Friday. “I am thankful that like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and others I got into boxing.
“I confronted poverty by trusting God and dreaming big. I was convinced I could succeed in boxing. The boxing ring could be the breeding ground for my dreams.”
Pacquiao produced a devastating second-round knockout of Briton Ricky Hatton in May last year to win a light welterweight belt and stopped Miguel Cotto in November to win become world welterweight champion.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said he was working toward securing a blockbuster fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr to decide the unofficial title of world’s best pound-for-pound boxer.
Talks between the two camps broke down earlier this year following Pacquiao’s refusal to agree to Mayweather’s demands for Olympic-style random drug testing.
The Filipino said he did not want blood drawn from him too close to a fight but has since relaxed his stance, saying that he would be willing to take a blood test 14 days before the bout.
Arum said the fight would likely take place in Las Vegas in November.
“Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas is Frank Sinatra times a hundred,” Arum said. “Nobody else can bring in the highest of the high-rollers.”
Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo. Editing by Dave Thompson