Pacquiao’s Place In Pantheon of Pugilistic Greats Assured But In Need of Calibration
January 14, 2012 Boxing History

Manny Pacquiao: All-Time Great

In the hoopla surrounding the very public & at times crass & self-cannibalizing promotion of what could be

Manny Pacquiao

As Manny Pacquiao reaches a career cross-roads his standing in the sport's history is open to spirited & divergent debate.

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao one can lose sight of the fact that these are two exceptional & era-defining boxing talents. Whether or not we see the big one on May 5, 2012 I commence a two part series chronicling both the Fighting Pride of The Philippines & the boxer formerly known as Pretty Boy Floyd.

I start my homage to these two talents with Manny Pacquiao for one simple reason – irrespective of ability, brilliance or any other metric of greatness – Pacman has plain & simply given more – more of himself; more of his blood, sweat & tears than has the self-proclaimed & self-styled mercenary of prize fighting, Money Mayweather. Now that is not to say that Mayweather has not offered up extreme amounts of “hard work & dedication” – it is simply that the absence of a comparably sizable body of work against elite competition renders his a talent whose impact was fed to us – lovers of the sport – in a very stop-start even painfully awkward manner.

Put simply & to borrow a phrase from one of Team Money‘s most high profile backers – Pacquiao is fully entitled to tell Floyd, “Homie, you ain’t been through what I been through.

Manny Pacquiao, we note, holds notable wins over:

  • Erik Morales (twice – Morales aged 28, 29 & 30 at the time of the three epic clashes that comprised the storied trilogy).
  • Marco Antonio Barrera (twice – when Barrera was aged 29 & 33 at the time of each clash).

  • (A shot) Oscar De La Hoya at a weight (147lbs) that ultimately hampered the Golden Boy far more so than it did the Fighting Pride of the Philippines.
  • (A post-loss to Mayweather) Ricky Hatton by spectacular 2nd Round KO in a barnstormer.
  • Joshua Clottey (who claims the fight was fixed) in a one-sided fight.
  • Antonio Margarito (post outing) in a brutal beat down.
  • Miguel Cotto (post suspect “loss” to Margarito) by late TKO having dominated the majority of the fight to that juncture.
  • Two highly divisive wins over Juan Manuel Marquez (which will be hotly debated for eons).
  • (A shot) “Sugar” Shane Mosley (in a rather flat irksome performance).

In his pomp Pacquiao was a violent pugilistic force of nature – a fighter whose spectacular talent & output catapulted him to both the status of clear-cut #1 fighter in the world & the periphery of the all-time Pound-for-Pound debate.

Pacquiao as the only eight-division world champion & the first fighter to win the lineal world title in four weight classes is clearly a boxer whose body of work can be described as historically significant. We do though live in an era of history with weight divisions calibrated by as little as 3lbs.

He picked up both The Ring and the BWAA“Fighter of the Year” award in 2006, 2008, and 2009. The latter makes him one of a select group of only 5 men who have picked up the accolade three times – along with no lesser names than (wait for it) Muhammed Ali; Joe Frazier; Sugar Ray Leonard & Evander Holyfield – & thus the only non-American to have been given the American’s boxing writer’s nod as fighter of the year 3 times.

His hatrick of The Ring Fighter of the Year Awards places him in a similarly elite grouping of the sport’s all-time greats with his 2009 win making him one of only 6 men to have won three or more times. Joe Louis; Rocky Marciano; Joe Frazier; Mohammed Ali; Evander Holyfield….& now Manny Pacquiao.  Additionally PacMan is the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fighter of the Decade” for the first decade of the 21st century.

Stylistically – & though reflecting on a style that has morphed & evolved substantially under the tutelage of one

Freddie Roach: The catalyst to PacMan's upward trajectory.

Freddie Roach – his is something of a super-charged & super-energized form of Ricky Hatton; that is not averse to mixing it up & yes being drawn into downright brawling if the situation calls for it. Such styles; ever refined versions thereof do not lend themselves well to longevity at the upper echelons of the most unforgiving of sporting disciplines. Then again; wasn’t the same true of Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez? Perhaps certain talents are able to transcend such logical impositions mere mortals find terminal hindrances.

At 33 years of age Manny has already outlasted his less skilled contemporary though going on the evidence of his last two trips to the squared circle Pacquiao’s most bombastic days of thunder are now likely to be behind him. Should that purported deterioration in skills show itself to be fact I’d hasten to add that irrespective whether or not we see the mega-fight of the decade Manny Pacquiao is a fighter whose claims to greatness are beyond reproach & whose contribution to the sport globally & as a standard bearer for the era dwarfs that of Money Mayweather.

Each to their own when it comes to the inevitably subjective endeavor of compiling an all-time pound-for-pound list – we all look for different characteristics, attributes & metrics indicative of true historic greatness – but for me; a fan who is admittedly more Hagler than Ray Leonard; Manny stands head & shoulders above Floyd Mayweather in any such list & will remain there regardless of the result of any future meeting…

Put simply; Pacquiao has given us more by fighting with the desire to win & not the fear of losing as his primary motivation.

Matt Hamilton, for ESNewsReporting!

Matt Hamilton

Matt Hamilton - Reporting!


Matt Hamilton is a world renowned Google algorithm expert & SEO consultant. Hit him up if you want to gain traction for your business via being #1 pound-for-pound in the search engines.

"2" Comments
  1. “Boxing will never gain the height and interest of the people anymore unless they can start making fights mandatory”

    Hallelujah 🙂

  2. Thank you for that accurate article. Pacquiao and Mayweather are both all-time greats no doubt about it, despite having different styles and personalities.

    I completely agree why Pacquiao would be 1 and Mayweather 2. I think Mayweather could have easily been #1 if he had only used his talent and really risk it, put it out on the line, for that is how one becomes great. You’re not great because you have a undefeated record (against some good opponents but mostly beatable for him), but when you take risks, and Mayweather doesn’t take a lot of risks. That’s why he’s undefeated, but that’s also why he’s not #1.

    Pacquiao has definitely given more and laid out on the line more than any other modern day great including Mayweather. Thank you for pointing out that Pacquiao’s wars against the Mexcian Legends in Marquez, Barrera, and Morales, were all in their primes. Also, Pacquiao got in the ring with constantly bigger and stronger opponents after that (Hatton, Cotto, Clottey, Margarito, Mosley). He’s been more active, he’s won more titles, he’s taken his beatings, he’s taken his losses, but he’s risen higher and higher everytime, and that’s what makes you great.

    Mayweather can brag about his PPV numbers, but considering Pacquiao is a Filipino, to put up numbers practically equal to Mayweather’s (with his American fan base backing), it’s even more extraordinary that Pacquiao has been able to ascend to these heights. Imagine if Pacquiao were an American fighter? He’d be about 2x or 3x more famous than Mayweather.

    Bottomline is they are both all-time greats. Pacquiao is more of your “throw-back” traditional boxing hero, whereas Mayweather is more of the “modern day” drama-queen-trash-talking-rumor-spreading-self-gloating advertisement machine that sells tickets and garners interest. And in the 21st century, that’s what people like now. They love lies, bs, trash-talking, fronting, anything that resembles reality TV to go along with their fights. The problem I always had with that is when the talking becomes greater than the fighting. The talking should never overshadow the fight itself. That’s what I love about MMA/UFC. They still trash-talk to some degree to hype up the fight, but the fight always outshines the off-ring antics, and at the end of the fight, they have nothing but respect for each other.

    Boxing will never gain the height and interest of the people anymore unless they can start making fights mandatory like they do in the UFC (rather than being independently owned/self-promoted or owned by promoters, they should be owned all under one company like WBC or something like that).

Leave a Reply