Manny Pacquiao once stood at the top of the boxing world. The recent bout with Jeff Horn shows that he is still one of the best fighters in the business. His domination in the sport was only rivaled by the greatest boxers in history.
When a boxer is remembered with the likes of Ali and Frazier, it’s safe to say that he has carved out a name for himself in boxing’s everlasting hall of time. He is the most famous athlete to come out of his home country of Philippines, from poverty to the big stage, a true example of ‘rags to riches’. But in recent years it seems that Pac-Man has slowed down a bit, according to some boxing experts. His last two may have been because he has lost a step, or was simply unlucky in the eyes of the judges.
According to popular opinion, the latter was the case with the Pacquiao vs. Horn Fight on Sunday, July 2. It makes one wonder, how many times has Pacquiao been on the bad side of lady luck?
It is easy to wonder that the man who defeated talents like De La Hoya, Barrera, Morales, and Cotto by big margins could be defeated by Jeff Horn, with all due respect to Horn. One quick look at the scorecards of some Pacquiao bouts will leave you scratching your head as they are very close fights, some of them are too close for comfort for all those in Pacquiao’s camp. Even those who are not fans of Pac-Man will change their minds when they reach the end of this article.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn
Pacquiao vs. Horn had the hype that is around any fight that “The Destroyer” is part of. People waited anxiously for the WBO welterweight championship bout and it didn’t disappoint. Horn came out with aggression and gave Pacquiao all sorts of trouble. Horn’s strategy was to tire out his aging opponent because he was clearly outmatched in technique.
Horn Fights Dirty
Horn occasionally crossed the line and made some dirty plays, even a few head-butts that opened Pacquiao’s head. He got as many “free hits” as he possibly could before the referee separated them.
Even though Horn was coming at him with all that he had, Pacquiao held his ground and dished out more hits than he received. In Round 9, Pacquiao hit Horn so many times that he drew blood from the right side of Horn’s face. Horn was extremely lucky that the bell sounded when it did because he wouldn’t have survived a few more seconds of punishment that he was getting. Horn survived somehow and came back with a response of his own in Round 10.
After the fight, many believed that Pacquiao had won because he clearly landed more punches than Horn. Judges delivered the result and shocked millions of fans and Pacquiao himself.
According to the judges, the fighters were evenly matched but Horn was the aggressor.
The fight is history now, but one cannot help but wonder if there had been a different group of judges in another venue would Pacquiao have lost his title?
Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather
A rare quality that Manny Pacquiao possesses is modesty. He is humble, as humble as a boxer can be. So when he went against Floyd Mayweather, who is the exact opposite of modest, everyone in the world wanted him to win. Probably the biggest fight in history, dubbed the ‘Battle for Greatness’, took place in Las Vegas and was more hyped than any other fight in recent history. Celebrities like Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington and many others came down to see Pacquiao beat Mayweather.
The bout’s ticket was the hottest one in town and the arena was filled to the brink when the fighters stepped into the ring.
Not so Beloved Mayweather
The arena echoed with boos when Mayweather was introduced and that trend continued throughout the fight. Each and every person, it seemed, wanted Pacquiao to silence the loud mouth of Mayweather.
The fight started and Pacquiao followed Mayweather around in the ring with a smile but the fight would leave him with anything but a smile on his face. Mayweather seemed to be too fast for the Pac-Man, he threw a total of 429 punches and landed only 19 percent of them. That was never going to be good enough to beat Mayweather. The fight was close and lasted the whole 12 rounds. Each fighter had his moment and each fighter was backed to the ropes at some point during the fight.
It came down to the judges’ decision, Mayweather jumped to the ropes claiming his victory before the result was even announced – boos grew louder. The decision did come in his favor and Pacquiao said that “I thought I caught him more than he caught me”.
But the judges declared the fight in favor of Mayweather; Pacquiao lost another close one.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley
When the ‘Perfect Storm’ came along, Pacquiao was on a roll. He was breaking records left and right, beating foes that were considered to be beyond his skill. Timothy Bradley was undefeated at the time, he was still the underdog going against the red-hot Pac-Man.
He wasn’t as fast as Pacquiao and he didn’t have the power that Pacquiao had, so he didn’t have any chance.
A Close one
The fight started and Bradley matched Pacquiao throughout the whole 12 rounds. However, Pacquiao still seemed to get the better of Bradley when the fight ended. To the surprise of everyone, there was a split decision, Bradley was awarded the victory. Pacquiao did get his revenge later on, but this bout must still sting because many in the Pacquiao camp believed that Bradley was gifted the victory.
Split decisions, close calls, bells coming at the wrong time, whatever the circumstances, Pacquiao drew the short straw in all of the fights mentioned above. There have been other losses in Pacquiao’s career, but these three, in particular, will always make everyone wonder…what if Pacman had won those bouts – could he have been considered the G.O.A.T?