Analysing Manny Pacquiao’s recent championship wins
From 2008 until 2012, Manny Pacquiao was considered by some fans and media to be the best pound for pound fighter in the world. He was called a legend and the greatest to lace up a pair of gloves since Ray Robinson or Muhammad Ali. There is no doubt that Pacquiao was an outstanding featherweight and junior lightweight.
During his time in those divisions he defeated great fighters like Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez and good contenders like Jorge Solis and Oscar Larios.
However, when his accomplishments from 2008 onwards are studied closely, they do not seem all that impressive. In 2008, Pacquiao moved up to 147lbs to face a faded Oscar De La Hoya in a fight were he was considered a huge underdog. De La Hoya came into the fight extremely drained as he had not fought at welterweight for 8 years and was forced to retire on his stool as a result.
Pacquiao’s next fight came against a damaged Ricky Hatton who since being knocked out by Floyd Mayweather, had not looked as good as he used to. Pacquiao stopped Hatton in the 2nd round with a great left hand, but it was clear during the fight that Hatton was a shot fighter. In his next fight Pacquiao battled Miguel Cotto at a catch-weight of 145lbs despite facing De La Hoya at 147lbs a year earlier. Pacquiao stopped Cotto in the final round to capture a welterweight belt despite not fighting at the full weight limit.
After a win against Joshua Clottey, Pacquiao faced Antonio Margarito in yet another catch-weight fight. The fight was for the 154lb title but was made at a weight of 150lb. Pacquiao defeated Margarito and claimed his so called 8th division championship. But like the Cotto fight, how could this be viewed as a legitimate championship win if the match was made at a catch-weight?
When featherweight champion Henry Armstrong fought for the lightweight, welterweight and middleweight titles he didn’t ask for a catch-weight; he honoured the champions and the championships by fighting at the full weight limits. Pacquiao’s rise his been a combination of careful match making, catch-weight fights and fighting name opponents past their best.
De La hoya was defeated by Floyd Mayweather at 154lbs, a weight in which he was healthy and comfortable making. Hatton was also defeated by Mayweather, as was Shane Mosley before Pacquiao faced them. Margarito had only one tune up fight before facing Pacquiao after being destroyed by Shane Mosley and later banned for using illegal hand wraps.
Lot’s of fans claim that because Pacquaio scored stoppages over Hatton and De La Hoya, that he is better than Mayweather. They forget that Mayweather defeated these fighters before Pacquiao and that they were never the same afterwards. Also, the styles of Pacquiao and Mayweather are completely different.
Mayweather is a pure boxer, whereas Pacquaio is an aggressive fighter who actively looks for knockouts. If these two were to face then Mayweather would easily win a decision over Pacquiao as he struggles greatly against fighters with good boxing skills as shown in the 1st fight with Morales and the 4 fights with Marquez.