There is no doubt that at present Manny Pacquiao deserves recognition as being the best fighter, pound-for-pound, in the world. This boxing icon deserves the accolade and is the first ever Filipino to reach such dizzy heights. This southpaw dynamo, “Pacman” as he is also known, has had several sensational victories during his career, and still has the power to achieve more.
His current standing in the boxing world was earned by hard work and brilliance, and while it is not easy to focus on any of his fights as being better than any of the rest, here are what could be considered to be his best seven bouts. While others would likely select others or place them in a different order, it cannot be argued this seven were not amongst his best.
At no. 7: Opponent – Fashan 3K Battery of Thailand
Two southpaws meet blow by blow, one defending his Ring Magazine featherweight title, and the other trying to make a name. Pacquiao proved that he’s got the power to restrict this Thai boxer’s straight win record to just the 68 it stands at now. This Manila event that took place on December 11, 2004, and Manny sent Battery to the canvas three times in Round 4. It was a left uppercut, literally lifting the Thai off his feet that ended the fight with a TKO.
At no. 6: Opponent – David Diaz of Mexico
Another southpaw! This time fighting in the lightweight division, Manny Pacquiao had his chance to overpower Diaz. Now weighing 135 pounds, Pacman showed to everyone that he has also carried up his powers by fashioning a perfect punch that sent Diaz flat on his face. This bout that took place on June 28, 2008 gave some boxing analysts the idea to stage a fight between the Filipino Champ and Oscar de la Hoya. His victory against Diaz earned him his fourth world title in a row.
At no. 5: Opponent – Erik Morales of Mexico
Would anyone think that Manny would finally make it in his third chance to claim supremacy over the super-featherweight great Erik Morales? Possibly, but no one else had ever done to Morales what Pacquiao did on that fateful 18th day of November 2008. Considering that Morales had beaten Pacquiao twice already, Manny could be said not to have learned his lesson and was heading for a fall. However, it was the other way around. “El Terrible” learned his lesson, and painfully at that, when he was blown away by a knockout in Round 3!
At no. 4: Opponent – Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico
At featherweight, and for the second time, Pacquiao met “Dinamita” who holds the WBC featherweight crown. Way back in May 2004, their first encounter ended in a draw. Pacquiao showed dominating power right from the first round, checking Marquez three times. This March 15, 2008 event in Pacquiao’s career really brought out the best in him and also from Marquez, both holding on to the finish. Manny won by a split decision. It was the third round knockdown that gave Pacquiao the edge to prevail on the scorecards.
At no. 3: Opponent – Marco Antonio Barrera
When Manny Pacquiao hit the floor in Round 1, many thought he deserved it because he dared to fight the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera. However, the expectation that the Mexican would end the fight early was reversed as Pacquiao landed 31 power punches in Round 2. As if awakened by the feel of the canvas during the opening round, the Filipino lefty displayed superior hand speed, delivering five-punch combinations.
In Round 3, Pacquiao put Barrera down with his powerful left hammer on the opponent’s jaw. From then on the momentum of the fight shifted with Pacquiao’s tremendous display of power, and in Round 7 a head butt sent blood down Barrera’s face. The Mexican tried to hold on to defend his belt, but only up to the 11th round when he was floored again, and ending the game with his corner throwing a towel on him to save him from more of Pacquiao’s ferocity.
At no. 2: Opponent – Oscar de la Hoya
Starting his professional career at 106 pounds and stepping up to 135 to snatch the WBC lightweight title from David Diaz on June 28, 2008, Pacquiao had to go up higher if he wanted yet another title. His victory over Marquez in March 2008 established him as the world top pound-for-pound sensation. This match was considered a suicide move by Pacquiao’s camp, deciding to fight De la Hoya at 147 pounds.
Dubbed as a “Dream Match”, 35 year old De la Hoya was favorite because of his advantage of 4 inches in height over Pacquiao. However, Manny’s superiority in power and ring craft overcame that, and his trainer, Freddie Roach, had successfully added more tools to Manny’s signature left-hand hammer. De la Hoya finally succumbed to his superior speed which was translated into devastating power. The Golden Boy of Mexico suffered 195 punches and in the 8th round had already developed a swollen face, giving the victory to Pacquiao by a TKO.
At no. 1: Opponent – Ricky Hatton
Who would forget the much talked about “The Battle of the East and West”? The most recent and the most unexpected victory of Manny Pacquiao came amidst the glamour and glitz of publicity from both camps. Even the trainers Freddie Roach and Floyd Mayweather, Sr. had their share of the limelight, throwing punches of harsh words at each other.
However, the real scene of the action came on May 2, 2009. Pacquiao right away showed determination to subdue Hatton in the opening round, finally forcing the favored boxer to the floor in Round 2 with his supercharged left hammer. The fight was over. Many found it disappointing, but once again Pacman had proved his superiority over whatever opponent had the temerity to face him.