In Manny Pacquiao’s career, there have been many times when he has shined brighter than the sun and times where he has been lower than Marianna Trench. He is talented and a role model but there will always be questions about him that we may never get answered and that people will never ask him.
Pacquiao first burst onto the American boxing scene with his 11th round TKO of Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera in November of 2003. Before the fight with Pacquiao, Barrera was on a comeback trail after a victory over his fellow Mexican rival Erik Morales and blood and guts warrior Johnny Tapia. Barrera was riding high and Pacquiao’s victory over Barrera was at the time the biggest victory of his career.
The next big step for Pacquiao was against a man that would always be there to answer whatever Pacquiao had to dish out; Juan Manuel Marquez. Their first fight as all their other fights was a classic. In the opening round Pacquiao seemed too fast and too strong; knocking Marquez down three times in the first round. Pacquiao seemed like a beast but all he did was awake the dragon inside Marquez who would fight back hard in every round for the match to result in a draw. Some might have seen it as a setback for Pacquiao but to get a draw over Marquez; who is a professor in the ring; is not a bad thing to have on one’s resume; even if many fight fans feel you have lost the fight.
In March 2005, Pacquiao went up against the third top Mexican fighter at the time. He and Erik Morales put on one of the greatest fights of the year. Morales won a close decision but with the action that happened between the two a rematch was wanted and needed by the fans and by Pacquiao who had felt that he did enough to win the fight. In January of 2006 Pacquiao got his revenge by getting a TKO victory over Morales in the tenth round of their bout. Had it not of been for the stoppage the bout could have gone either way due to the close score cards. Pacquiao had made a name for himself but a rubber match was necessary to prove who was the better fighter out of the two, so 10 months down the round he put no doubt on who the better fighter was by stopping Morales in the 3rd round.
In 2007, Barrera received a shot at redemption against Pacquiao but fell short losing a decision.
Marquez was next on the list of rematches for Pacquiao and it made perfect sense. Pacquiao gained fame, money, and recognition from fighting Mexico’s top 3 fighters so why not do it again? Their second fight was amazing just like their first fight. The action went back and forth, the entire fight with both fighters rocking each other several times with Marquez being knocked down once. Two of the judges had the fight close in favor of Pacquiao with the other judge giving it to Marquez, also with a close score. The fans wanted more as well as Marquez but Pacquiao made it clear that he wanted nothing more to do with Marquez.
3 months later, Pacquiao moved up to the lightweight division to take on WBC champion David Diaz. Pacquiao brutalized Diaz, getting a TKO victory in the 9th round.
After that opportunities came up that many fans thought would not have happened.
In 2008 Pacquiao moved up in weight once again to face long time fan favorite Oscar De La Hoya at the welterweight limit. De La Hoya had not fought under the junior middleweight level for seven years and was weight drained not to mention past his prime but most felt De La Hoya was the favorite. Either way, Pacquiao won in dominating fashion by retiring De La Hoya in the 8th round; boosting Pacquiao’s reputation and marketability into a whole new level.
In his next fight, Pacquiao had another mega-fight this time against British sensation Ricky Hatton at junior welterweight. Many fans had expected the fight to last longer and have more action than it did but the action that occurred that night was spectacular. In the 2nd round, Hatton was knocked out cold from a beautiful counter shot which sent the boxing world abuzz.
Fans were eager to see Pacquiao fight again and talks swirled around faster than before for a fight against former pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather. Each and every single time negotiations happened they would always fall through leaving for other intriguing bouts or stay busy bouts.
Later on in the year after the Hatton fight, Pacquiao would go on to face WBO Welterweight champion at a catch weight. The fight delivered fireworks from start to finish with Cotto getting dropped in the middle rounds and fighting defensively for the rest of the fight and Pacquiao showing tremendous speed and power throughout the fight while seeming vulnerable at times. Pacquiao scored a TKO in the 12th round but fans began to question if the result would have been the same had they fought at the full weight limit.
After the Cotto fight the quality of opposition to some fans dropped. Joshua Clottey stayed in a protective shell throughout their fight creating a lackluster event. Pacquiao “moved up” in weight again to face Antonio Margarito for a junior middleweight title at a catch weight of 150 pounds for a 154 pound title. Margarito was considered finished by many but was still able to hurt Pacquiao. Overall, Pacquiao’s speed and power were able to overcome Margarito, breaking his orbital bone in the process to a UD victory.
Shane Mosley got his chance next. Shane was at the level where he was considered a stepping stone. He had begged for a shot at Pacquiao for so long. Pacquiao and his handlers said repeatedly that Mosley did not deserve it and he was too old. With one punch that Mosley landed against Mayweather that made his knees buckle then all of a sudden he was worthy of the fight. Pacquiao went on to win a lopsided decision.
After years of demanding a rematch with Pacquiao, Marquez got his long awaited shot at a rematch in a welterweight match with a catch weight of 144 pounds at the request of Marquez. Again Pacquiao and his handlers said for the longest time that Marquez was old and finished and did not deserve the fight but they eventually took the fight to “shut him up.” In their 3rd fight, they took off were they left off. It was a more technical fight but had plenty of action. Pacquiao would go on to win a controversial decision which earned him plenty of jeers from the fans in attendance. The cause of his performance was later blamed on marital problems and unholy actions. Even though he put up a good performance, the controversy and blame overshadowed it.
In June of 2012 Pacquiao got a taste of his own medicine losing a controversial decision to underdog Tim Bradley. Pacquiao had the opportunity many times in the fight to finish off Bradley; and with Bradley injured he put up a brave effort fighting back from the mid rounds on.
After the loss fans began to question whether Pacquiao had slipped and there were many questions left to be answered.
The last time we saw Pacquiao in the ring was December of last year against a familiar foe. Manny Pacquiao went up against Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time in what would be a fight that fans would talk of for years to come.
The build up to the fight was full of hype and controversy. Both fighters had something to prove and vowed to knock each other out to end their series to see who the better fighter was. For a good portion of the fight Pacquiao threw Marquez off with his head movement but Marquez was able to time him right and surprisingly drop Pacquiao which ignited the crowd like never before. After the knockdown Pacquiao had something to prove and fought back landing punch after punch eventually dropping Marquez. In the 6th round Marquez seemed hurt and Pacquiao went on the attack when Marquez was against the ropes. Marquez timed him and clocked him with a beautiful counter shot sending Pacquiao face first into the canvas and turning the lights out on what was once a shining star.
Pacquiao wants a rematch with Marquez but it seems like he will not get it. As long as he made Marquez wait he might just be getting a taste of his own medicine. Would he still have wanted to fight Marquez had he won? After all this was the most decisive victory of their series.
As for now, Pacquiao’s return date keeps changing. No one knows when exactly he will come back or against whom. Should he want to remain a top fighter he must fight and beat a top opponent. Earlier when he fought against Barrera, Marquez, and Morales those were fights that made him a star. After the Diaz fight, he fought weight drained and old finished fighters which is damaging to his reputation at the same time. He is a multi division champion but if he did not win the championships at the full weight limit can you really count it? I mean the weight limit is there for a reason.
There are many questions left to be answered by the “Pac Man” and time will tell us if he is really that good of a fighter. Even if he fought way past his glory days, he will always be a big ticket seller; especially with Filipino fans. He proved before that he was an elite fighter and has fought several name competition back to back but the way the victories came will always cast a doubt on a large group of fans.