There aren’t many fighters on the planet that can claim to have the same kind of dedication and talent as Manny Pacquiao. The 40-year-old is the only fighter to have won titles in eight different weight divisions, while he was also the first lineal champion across five weight classes. There have been memorable moments throughout his career, and in his prime nobody could lay a glove on the talented Filipino. He was named the fighter of the decade for the 2000s, and he is a three-time Ring Magazine and BWAA Fighter of the Year.
Pacquiao has stepped foot in the ring on 70 occasions, and despite his seven losses, he will be forever remembered as one of the very best. But, let’s reflect on some of the famous encounters he has been a part of ahead of his showdown with Keith Thurman on 20th July, for all the best odds for the upcoming event be sure to check out our offer for sports.
Pacquiao vs De La Hoya
It was billed as the ‘Dream Fight’ between two of the all-time greats in 2008, and the Filipino went into the match as the underdog after coming up a weight class for the bout. However, he didn’t disappoint, and he quickly showed his dominance in the ring by commanding the matchup. De La Hoya couldn’t deal with the speedy offence that Pacquiao displayed, and the Filipino brutally knocked him down in the eighth round. De La Hoya stumbled back to his corner before deciding that he couldn’t continue ahead of the ninth round. The victory by technical knockout was seismic for Pacquiao as it genuinely put him on the map as one of the best fighters on the planet.
Despite no titles being on the line, the bout was received warmly by fight fans across the globe because of the significance of the event. The result saw Pacquiao named as the number one pound for pound boxer in the world by The Ring. The event was only the fourth non=heavyweight bout to have more than one million buys at the time, and it was also the highest grossing PPV event on 2008 in the USA; beating WrestleMania XXIV and UFC 91.
Pacquiao vs Hatton
One of the most famous encounters Pacquiao was involved in was billed as ‘The Battle between East and West’ against Ricky Hatton in 2009. Expectations were sky high for the event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Hatton was coming into the bout 18 months after his first professional defeat against Floyd Mayweather Jr. It was to be more misery for the Brit, as the fight would become synonymous for one of the most brutal knockout punches ever thrown in the ring.
After dominating the first round by landing three straight rights to Hatton, the Brit was floored. However, he got back up with a minute remaining only to be sent back to the canvas with nine-seconds remaining; this time the damage was done by a quick combination. Hatton once again returned to his feet and looked to have regained a level of control in the second round. However, Pacquiao spotted an opening a struck Hatton with a fierce left hook which left the Brit unconscious before even hitting the ground. The blow was awarded as ‘Knockout of the year’ by Ring Magazine and subsequently meant that Hatton needed to retire. In just under ten minutes in the ring, the Filipino demonstrating everything that made him the pound for pound best in the world.
Pacquiao vs Matthysse
photo: FARYSA HAMZAH/Shutterstock.com
After a brief retirement and an ageing performance against Jeff Horn, Pacquiao returned to the ring to take on Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia. Aged 39 at the time he showcased all the skills that made him the world champion in various weight categories and proved to fans that he still has energy in the tank for one final push at a world title. He looked fresh and hungry to achieve the knockout finish and that just what he did against his Argentinean opponent.
After seven round of picking apart his opponent, he finally finished off Matthysse with a left hook combination. In total, the Filipino dropped his opponent to the canvas on four occasions, but ultimately the damage was done. The TKO victory was the first time that Pacquiao had knocked out his opponent to win in nine years.
Pacquiao vs Margarito
In 2010, Pacquiao became the first main event fighter to compete at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas twice in a calendar year, as there were over 40,000 fans in attendance for the bout that saw the Filipino enter the history books. Despite the size difference going in the favour of Margarito, it was Pacquiao who made the dominant moves throughout the fight by using his speed and technique, which his Mexican opponent couldn’t match.
Margarito suffered three nasty cuts during the fight which prompted the Filipino to ask the referee to stop the bout. However, he didn’t, and the fight went the distance with Pacquiao winning by a unanimous decision. Such was his dominance in the bout Pacquiao landed 474 of his 1069 punches (44%), while his opponent could only land 229 of 817 (28%). After the fight, Pacquiao revealed that he held back during the last round of the bout as he didn’t want to leave permanent damage on his opponent.
Pacquiao vs Mayweather
photo: Kobby Dagan/Shutterstock.com
It was the fight that the world wanted to see between two of the best in the ring. It was billed as ‘The Fight of the Century’, and while the ultimate decision didn’t go in favour of the Filipino, it will always be an event that he came out of praise with. Mayweather’s defensive tactics throughout the bout drew frustrated reactions from the crowd in attendance, while Pacquiao was forced to try and catch the American as he tried to stay out of the grasp of the Filipino.
The judges ultimately scored it as unanimous points decision for Mayweather, but there have been questions from experts and ex-professionals about the legitimacy. The event was largely believed to have taken place six years too late as the opening negotiations took place in 2009, but rumours circulated that Mayweather wasn’t happy to defend his unbeaten record against such a threatening opponent. There are no doubts in boxing fans mind that if the bout would have gone ahead in 2009, then the fight could have been a devastating blow for the legacy of Mayweather.
The legacy for Pacquiao will continue, however, as he steps in the ring with Keith Thurman on the 21st July at the MGM Grand. 🥊