When you think of the Pasifika contribution to rugby and league, the names start rolling off the tongue and quickly form a torrent: Bryan "Beegee" Williams, Jonah Lomu, Va'aiga Tuigamala, Jerry Collins, Ali Lauiti'iti, Olsen Filipaina, the Tuilagi brothers, Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, Kurt and Dane Sorensen and so many more.
It's an awesome roll call and the Tongan and Samoan islands provide a classic case study in that often overworked phrase — punching above their weight.
That phrase brings us neatly to the subject of this column: boxing, and in particular the long-awaited heavyweight clash between a South Auckland of Samoan heritage, Joseph Parker, and a South Auckland of Tongan extraction, Junior Fa.
The cultural significance of this fight should not be overplayed because the fighters themselves have been reluctant to be drawn into it. Parker's mother, Sala, has previously counselled against taking fights against Pasifika opposition — before his 2019 fight against fellow Samoan Alex Leapai in Providence, Rhode Island, she admitted to this reporter she would take no pleasure in watching the bout because of the close connections within the communities.
It is, however, an appropriate time to reflect on the ever-increasing influence of Pasifika on the global boxing scene.
Let's start with the two combatants, Parker and Fa, who are ranked No3 and No5 contenders on the WBO rankings and 5 and 8 on the IBF rankings. If you include the unbeaten Hemi Ahio, three of the world's top 50 heavyweights have their origins in Samoa and Tonga.
Today's heavyweight champs recognise their debt to stars of yesteryear who, with a little more luck and in some cases a lot better management, might have been global superstars.
David Tua came closest, losing a championship fight in a 12-rounder with Lennox Lewis in 2000. The fearsome KO artist is widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights never to have been crowned a world champion.
Like Tua, Tongan Paea Wolfgramm parlayed an Olympic medal into a professional career and at one point he met Wladimir Klitschko for the WBC International heavyweight title.
Then there was Jimmy Peau, aka Thunder, who could punch with the best of them but was chewed up and spat out in the godless world of Vegas boxing, but not before winning 35 of his 49 pro fights. He died last year aged just 54.
(And look, we didn't even have to mention the unbeaten Sonny Bill Williams.)
It's not just heavyweights, either. Middleweight Monty Betham Sr, the father of the league star of the same name, was a pioneer, while Samoan compatriot Maselino Masoe's 36-fight pro career took him to places as varied as Sheepy's Bar, Papakura, to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, including a reign as WBA world champ.
If you ask long-time promoter Mike Edwards who New Zealand's greatest boxer was, he'll tell you it was Tongan-born lightweight Manny Santos, who fought professionally 44 times for a 32-9-3 record, without getting the opportunities his modern proteges have available.
It's a subjective pick by Edwards, one that could be debated for hours with supporters of those listed above and the many others who have not been mentioned here. What is an objective fact, however, is that the Pasifika contribution to boxing is rich and getting richer.
Punching above their weight. You betcha.