Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: Which fighter has fought better opposition? Part 2: Manny

By B.G.B - 12/24/2014 - Comments

pac7847By B.G.B: Manny Pacquiao – Like his rival, Pacquiao has won 10 world titles in an astonishing 8 weight division. He is the first and only boxer in history to have won world titles in 8 weight classes. He turned professional in 1995 when he was just 16 years old, 4ft 11 and weighed in at 98 pounds (light flyweight).

Throughout his very early career Manny fought in the Philippines in small venues. After an 11 fight winning streak he suffered his first loss, knockdown and knockout of his career losing in the 3rd round to Rustico Torrecampo.

After the Torrecampo defeat Manny went on a 14 fight winning streak 12 by way of KO/TKO before he earned his first shot at a world title at flyweight. He defeated Chatchai Sasakul by a 8th round stoppage to capture the WBC title. Manny lost his title in a defence against the undefeated Medgoen Singsurat.

Regardless of the result Manny would not be able to retain his title after failing to make weight. After that defeat Manny made the move up in weight to the super bantamweight division. He won the IBF international title and after 5 consecutive victories Manny had a chance to win a second world title in a different weight division. It would be his first fight in Vegas against Lehlo Ledwaba. Manny captured the IBF super bantamweight title winning by a 6th round TKO. Ledwaba had only lost once in his early career and had defended his IBF title 5 times. Manny’s next bout was a unification fight for the IBF and the WBO super-bantamweight titles against Agapito Sanchez. Sanchez had lost to both Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manual Marquez in his earlier career before the Pacquiao match up. The fight ended a technical draw due to a cut over Manny’s eye. Manny continued his career as the IBF champion and after 4 more defences he would move up another weight class to the featherweight division. His first fight at featherweight weight was against modern great Marco Antonio Barrera.

Barrera was without question the biggest fight of Pacquiao’s career. He hadn’t lost a fight since his defeat to Mexican rival Erik Morales, a modern great himself. Barrera was a 4 time world champion in 2 different weight divisions and was on an impressive winning streak. He had beaten Naseem Hamed, Erik Morales in a rematch for the WBC featherweight title, Johnny Tapia and Kevin Kelly.  Manny stopped Barrera by an 11th round TKO, arguable his best victory of his career. Barrera had never previously been stopped.After Barrera Manny faced long time rival Juan Manual Marques for the first time. Marques held both the WBA and IBF featherweight titles and the fight did not disappoint. The fight was action packed throughout. Marques touched the canvas 3 times in the first round but after a shaky start fought his was right back into the fight. The judges scored the fight a draw however 2 had Marques winning more rounds. The knockdowns proved crucial for Manny. After that fight a true rivalry was born.

Manny had reached the elite level and there was no going back. Just one fight after Marques and two since Barrera Manny would face Eric Morales in the super featherweight division. It was the 4th division Manny had competed at. He lost to Morales by a UD in yet another exhilarating fight. Morales, a three division world champion was hailed as a Mexican legend alongside Barrera. The scorecards all read 115-113. After his 3rd defeat of his career, Manny bounced back to stop Hector Velazquez. At the same time Morales fought and lost to Zahir Raheem however a rematch with Manny went ahead. This time Manny proved to be too strong for Morales winning by a 10th round TKO. Manny became the first man to knock Erik Morales out. One fight later, Manny finished any dispute between the pair knocking Morales out for a 2nd time in just 3 rounds.It was the beginning of Manny’s exceptional run of victories that saw him climb to the top of the pound for pound list in Floyd’s absence. A rematch with Barrera saw Manny defeat him for the second time by a UD. After two rematches within 3 fights, Manny faced Juan Manuel Marques in another rematch which saw him win a split decision and claim the WBC super featherweight title. Like the first one the fight was extremely close and is still disputed today. After the victory and another world title in another weight division Manny yet again went up in weight.

As he climbed up the weights Manny was drawing more and more attention. He annihilated David Diaz by a 9th round TKO in his first fight at lightweight to claim the WBC lightweight title. Diaz had lost just one fight against Kendall Holt previously. He had beaten Erik Morales to claim the title. Not surprisingly Morales announced his retirement after the bout. Rather than stay at lightweight Manny again moved up the welterweight division to face the Golden Boy Oscar Dela Hoya in a blockbuster in Vegas. Manny continued to show his ruthlessness and beat Dela Hoya at will until the fight was stopped by the corner in the 8th. Manny Pacqiuao had arrived at welter weight. As impressive as the performance was Dela Hoya looked desperately weight drained and far too weak to compete with anybody at the top level let alone Pacquiao.

A past his best Dela Hoya was perhaps not enough to suggest that Manny could hang with the top welterweights in the world. His next fight was against the tough Ricky Hatton who’s only loss came at the hands of Floyd Mayweather. Manny destroyed Hatton knocking him out in just 2 rounds and shocked the boxing world. He may have been tipped to win, but nobody expected him to do so easily. Manny had become a major player in the welterweight division and the demand for a fight with Floyd Mayweather had come to life.

Manny fought for the WBO welterweight title against Miguel Cotto in a fight that many were struggling to predict. Cotto had only been beaten once and was a much bigger man than Manny naturally. In blistering fashion Manny knocked Cotto down twice before the referee halted the bout in the 12th. Although not Cotto’s favoured weight division, the performance of Manny cannot be denied. He showed a ruthless instinct to finish Cotto and blistering hand speed that would trouble any fighter in the world. His status as the pound for pound number one was being justified.Manny’s last remarkable performance came against Antonio Margarito for the WBC light middleweight title in the Dallas Cowboys stadium. Regardless of whether or not Margarito was as good as he once was Manny dazzled. The hand speed, power and footwork could simply not be ignored as he out boxed and out fought a much bigger opponent. Manny captured yet another world title in another weight division.

Post Margarito Manny’s stock has indeed dropped. He hasn’t had a KO victory since Miguel Cotto and some believe he is on the decline. Manny’s next major fight came against Marques in a 3rd fight between the two. Manny was awarded the victory in yet another razor close fight. Many fans believe Manny was gifted the decision but they miss understand the difference between a robbery and a close fight. The 4TH fight with Marques would have to wait as the undefeated Timothy Bradley had earned his shot at Manny. In what was tipped to be a close intriguing fight, one that would define Bradley in particular, ended in controversy. Manny dominated the fight until the late rounds where he seemed to stop working. Bradley was awarded the split decision victory. The controversial ending allowed for a Pacquiao Marques 4th to take place. In what was Manny’s most exciting fight since Margarito, Marquez won by a 6th round KO, knocking Manny out cold with a sensational right hand.

Since the defeat, Manny has bounced back with victories over the flat-footed Brandon Rios, Timothy Bradley and the unbeaten Chris Algieri. The most significant victory of the 3 is without question Timothy Bradley. Bradley was an undefeated champion coming off of wins over Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez. He is one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world but, for a second time, was no match for Manny. Manny out worked Bradley to earn an impressive victory.

Like Floyd Manny Pacquiao has achieved unimaginable things since his long career began. This article has tried to highlight the best moments of a long career that fans should appreciate in all its glory. Here is the final list of what I see to be Manny’s best victories:

Lehlo Ledwaba

Marco Antonio Barrera

Erik Morales

Juan Manuel Marques

David Diaz

Ricky Hatton

Miguel Cotto

Antonio Margarito

Timothy Bradley

Shane Mosley does not make this list as I believe he had no real interest in trying to defeat Manny. He was way past his best and his last hoorah was in the early parts of the fight with Floyd. Both fighters were too busy trying to be friends rather than fight. Manny dropped Mosley early but failed to follow it up. It was a fight that is better off forgotten by both fighters. Joshua Clotty, although underrated and a good fighter, does not warrant a place on Manny’s most memorable wins.

What makes Manny’s list special is the way in which he went about getting those wins. He was the first man ever to stop Barrera who was on a terrific run of wins himself. He was the first man to knock out Erik Morales. He destroyed both Diaz and Hatton in astonishing fashion that cannot be denied. He easily beat both Margarito and Cotto but of course Cotto was not at his favoured weight. He was however when he fought Floyd.The two fighters that may have troubled Floyd in his earlier career would likely have been Barrera and Morales. Likewise Corrales and Castillo may have troubled Pacquiao. Of course there are debates but neither side can truly argue against the other ones record. They have both achieved so much throughout their careers and have fought a variety of champions. A loss does not define an entire career. Highlighting that Manny has 5 losses is not enough to suggest he does not belong with Floyd. Zab Judah was coming off a loss and Floyd chose to fight him so that excuse is invalid.

The lists will of course be subject to criticisms but for the final word I believe Floyd’s list has the greater opposition but the manner in which Manny defeated truly great fighters goes beyond that of Floyd.

Comments are closed.