After tonight's fight and the amazing accomplishment of wining a major title in seven weight classes, the question needs to change. No longer should we ask where Manny Pacquiao belongs on the top pound for pound list, but now we need to ask where he belongs on the top list of all-time fighters?
Isn't revisionist history, living in the moment? Or is now the time to put the name "Pacquiao" alongside the names of Louis, Marciano, Ali, Frazier, Leonard, Duran, Hagler, Hearns, Jones, and Hopkins?
To do what he's done, and how he's done it, I don't think its hyperbole. What is amazing not only is what Pacquiao has done, but how he's done it. Only once in a major fight has Pacman fallen (to Erik Morales), and he beat him twice after that. Pacquiao has also shown an amazing ability to not take punishment. Only Juan Manuel Marquez has figured out how to weave through the buzzsaw. Not only are Pacquiao's hands blindingly fast and with power, he has tremendous bounce in his feet and is able to move in and out and laterally better than anyone in boxing. He takes shots, but nobody has yet figured out how to consistantly wear him down using combinations. The speed in his feet is just, if not more, important than the speed of his hands. He's like a Street Fighter character, he's jumps in and does tremendous damage in mere seconds, then jumps out before a counter can effectively land. Marquez did well because he was able to time Pacquiao jumping in and out but he had to take an incredible beating to put one on him.
One wonders what Floyd Mayweather is thinking. He has had an equally impressive rise through boxing, capturing titles in multiple weight classes and defeating every single opponent put before him. Pacquiao can't say that. But in Floyd's megafights, with de la Hoya and Hatton - Pacquiao one-upped him on each one. Where Money squeeked out a split decision on Oscar, Pacquiao made the Golden Boy quit on his stool. Where Mayweather danced circles around Hatton until the kayo in the 9th, Pacquiao dispensed with the pleasantries and simpled turned his lights off in the 2nd. And while Mayweather handled a clearly overmatched and too-heavy Marquez in September, Pacquiao just tore through a true powerful welterweight champion in his prime.
To be honest folks, I don't see how Floyd Mayweather can beat Manny Pacquiao. He can't out-run him, out-speed him, out-think him, nor can he out-power him. Floyd's game of defensive counter-boxing is a clinic, but in a fighter like Pacquiao he would face a man who's basest boxing instinct is pressure, and he does it with speed and so money punches its like a cartoon cloud swirling in the ring. Mayweather likes to dance, move, out-smart, and out-box his opponents. He's never been terribly powerful and he's never been tested by a pressure fighter like Manny since the Castillo fights. And who spars with Pacquiao?
Like everyone else, I want to see Pacquiao vs. Mayweather. It would be the biggest non-heavyweight fight, in my opinion, since Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvelous Marvin Hagler. But if Floyd demurrs, I can understand why. He can't beat Manny Pacquiao.