Manny Pacquiao vs. Roberto Duran’s Weigh Gain

Manny Pacquiao (Age & Fighting Weight)

Born 1978-12-17

106lbs on debut aged 16 years 1 month & 4 days

113lbs in his 11th fight aged 17 years 0 months & 28 days

113lbs aged 18 years 0 months & 11 days

114lbs aged 19 years 5 months & 1 day

111.75 lbs aged 20 years 5 months & 7 days

119.5lbs aged 21 years 2 months & 15 days

120lbs aged aged 24 years 7 months & 9 days

129lbs aged 29 years 2 months & 28 days

142lbs aged 29 years 11 months & 19 days

147lbs aged 33 years 5 months & 22 days

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao’s weight has changed significantly relative to his height & thus his BMI has gone from severely underweight to near perfectly healthy for a person in the general population for his height (assumed near linear throughout).

He has maintained a lean physique whilst undergoing a weight gain of (at its most extreme): 13lbs or 10.08% in 8 months & 21 days between the second Juan Manuel Marquez fight in 2008 & the “Dream Match” with Oscar De La Hoya later that same year. To make historical comparisons of any validity I’ll limit straight comparisons to guys who were, as Manny was, in his prime as a fighter during his peak weight gain periods. I use “prime” in the broader sense – ie. Roberto Duran anytime up to or prior to his last major world level win against Iran Barkley in 1989 is deemed “prime”.

Duran is of course a very useful comparison considering he – over a career spanning five decades – campaigned at as low as 119lbs as a 16 year old to as high as 176lbs as a 47 year old. This constitutes a 47.9% increase over 31 years – which transverses the self-imposed broad prime only imposition mentioned earlier as by age 47 years of age Duran was some years past his credible prime. If we only include “prime worthy” wins – the highest weight at which the Panamanian achieved such a feat was 156.25lbs (vs. Barkley). This represents a 31.3% increase over his lowest weight as a professional boxer & took around 21 years to materialize. Additionally Duran did not move through the weights with the maintenance of leanness that has characterized Pacquiao’s weight gain.

Indeed Pacquiao went through the 31.3% gain threshold over baseline (or 139.25lbs) when he fought Oscar De La Hoya. That was actually a 33.96% gain over baseline. Thus, what took Duran 21 years to achieve without relative leanness, Pacquiao was able to do (and then some) in a “mere” 13 years with almost Adonis like levels of muscle tone throughout. Much of Duran’s path up the weight divisions was made necessary by his proclivity for eating & over-eating – he endured a longer & at times more acute history of struggling to make weight & of indulging in unhealthy eating practices.

All of this will serve as justification for Floyd Mayweather‘s long run insistence that any bout between the two be subject to Olympic style drug testing.

Matt Hamilton, for