By JM Barcenas (aka Longinus)
With the looming reemergence of boxing as a major shift happened when Top Rank opted to Showtime rather than the staple HBO PPV, I made a list of Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s most significant fights. He had more than 50 fights and many are memorable and historically significant but this lists ten that has the most impact worldwide to his super-stardom and his place among the greatest boxers that has ever laced a pair of gloves.
10. TKO8 vs. Chatchai Sasakul for WBC Flyweight Title and Linear Title
December 4, 1998 – Tonsuk College Ground, Phuttamonthon, Thailand
Fighting in hostile territory where most aspiring Filipino boxers are spoon fed for the Thai boxers who grab every advantage they could, seldom traveling to other countries to fight; Pacquiao showed his exceptional punching power in his frail body by knocking out the respected champion after being dominated in the early rounds. It was his very first world title.
9. TKO6 vs. Lehlohonolo Ledwaba for the IBF Superbantamweight Title
June 23, 2001- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
With only two weeks before Ledwaba’s debut in the US soil after an impressive performance in Africa, his opponent backed out due to injury. Phone calls were made and a little known former flyweight champion from the Philippines seems to be a viable replacement. But instead of showcasing Ledwaba’s talent, it was Pacquiao that was engraved in the US boxing public minds. This also marked the beginning of the Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao relationship.
8. TKO9 vs. David Diaz for the WBC lightweight Title
June 28, 2008 – Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
After dominating the featherweights, Manny Pacquiao was ready to move up to more challenges. Welcoming him was a rugged champion, with solid chin and firm determination. There was never any doubt as to who the better fighter was, but the way he tortured a strong, rugged lightweight David Diaz raised some eyebrows.
7. TKO8 vs. Oscar De La Hoya for the “Cash-Cow of Boxing” Title
December 6, 2008 – MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
After fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr., Oscar De La Hoya was looking for another big money fight. But the current welterweight champion Antonio Margarito was a serious threat, instead he chose a safer fight against a small man, the lightweight champion. The majority of boxing experts cried foul, fearing for the safety of Manny Pacquiao and the future of his career in boxing as he could sustain a serious injury in this fight. However, the world got the shock of a lifetime. This was not a prime De La Hoya, but the thorough beating the Pac-Man delivered was still a big deal because it introduced the entire sports world to Manny Pacquiao. Going into the fight most fans and media people thought that the little man had finally bitten off more than he could chew. Instead, he put an end to The Golden Boy’s career as a boxer.
6. SD12 Juan Manuel Marquez for the WBC Super Featherweight Title and Linear Super Featherweight Title
March 15, 2008 – Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
By the time these two warriors met again Manny had added a few new wrinkles to his already blistering arsenal. A thicker and tidier Pacquiao was taken to the brink once again by the great counter punching skills of his pesky adversary, despite nearly ending matters at the end of the third round. He was cut badly and had been hurt several times throughout the contest, but after 12 more rounds of tactical Hell, the fiery Filipino earned a very narrow victory.
5. TKO12 vs. Miguel Angel Cotto for the WBO Welterweight Title
November 14, 2009 – MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
After decimating the JR. welterweight champion Ricky Hatton, Manny has to move up in weight again to seek new challenges. Waiting is the welterweight champion who has no available fight either because Mayweather retired instead of facing him. A fearsome body puncher, Miguel Cotto was favored by many to hurt Pacquiao. Freddie Roach devised a plan to fight at long distance, shouting for Manny to get off the ropes. Instead he will do a rope-a-dope and invite Cotto to give him his best shot just to, in his own words after the fight: “test his power”.
4. TKO3 vs. Erik Morales for the WBC International Super Featherweight Title
November 18, 2006 – Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
After their second fight, the score was tied at 1-1, the public demanded a rubbermatch. And Manny would happily oblige. Erik Morales would undergo Velocity Training Program, siting poor condition as main reason why he lost on their rematch. This time there would be no excuses, Manny was the better man in a fight that should be better than the war of Hagler-Hearns had Manny’s punches been weaker so that Erik could take his punches for the entire fight.
3. KO2 vs. Ricky Hatton for the IBO Light Welterweight Title and Linear JR. Welterweight Title
May 2, 2009 – MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
While Ricky Hatton is not on the same level of Morales or Marquez, he was a legit champion at 140 lbs. He was THE man at 140, he started his career at that weight, was undefeated at that weight, and is the king of that weight class. Before the fight, most boxing experts predicted a close fight. After the fight, it would be exposed as a blatant mismatch. A former flyweight champ decimated the jr. welterweight king in 2 rounds. Let that sink in. One blast from his famous left fist finished what was already a hideous beating. The brutal conclusion made one thing clear- when it comes to Pacquiao, the supposed “laws” of boxing do not apply.
2. TKO10 vs. Erik Morales for the WBC International Super Featherweight Title
January 21, 2006 – Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
After losing to one of the best fighters that Mexico has ever produced, Manny returned with a vengeance. In many ways this was Manny’s greatest performance. It’s not just the fact that he knocked out a legendary hard ass, it’s how he went about it. After enduring a familiar cuffing in the early going, Pacquiao proved he was the best in the world by hanging in, and making the progress he made in the gym count for something under the lights. The “Baddest Man” torch was officially passed that evening.
1. TKO11 vs. Marco Antonio Barrera for the People’s Champion Title and the Linear Featherweight Title
November 15, 2003 – Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, United States
Fighting in hostile territory against one of the pound-4-pound elites of that time, Manny Pacquiao burst in the boxing scene with a bang, and a very loud bang at that. The Mexican icon was on top of his game. He had successfully switched from vicious attacker to a clever, heavy-handed boxer who was considered 1 of the 5 best fighters in the sport. In late 2003 Barrera put his World Featherweight Title on the line against a skinny Filipino not many people had heard much about. Hardcore boxing fans knew the kid was fast as lightning and fun to watch, but no one expected him to treat the future Hall Of Famer like a sparring partner. He assaulted Marco mercilessly, forcing the corner call a halt to the savage beating. The PACMAN has arrived.
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