Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO) looks to rebound from back-to-back losses -- one controversial, one definitive -- when he returns to the ring and fights for the first time in Macao, China, this Saturday night on HBO pay-per-view, facing Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 KO) in a 12-round welterweight battle
Here's a video look back at some of Pacquiao's biggest performances and fights, with my own comments added for the hoots and guffaws of the world at large.
Manny Pacquiao TKO-11 Marco Antonio Barrera (Nov. 15, 2003)
In terms of presenting a legacy of greatness, this fight is very important. As far as what it means for Saturday's fight, pretty much nothing. This was 10 years, 20 pounds, four weight classes, 20 fights, and 188 rounds ago for Manny Pacquiao. He's transformed about four times since then -- he's gone through a peak and started into a natural decline since this fight. This is about as relevant to the Rios fight as Pacquiao's 1998 win at flyweight over Chatchai Sasakul.
Manny Pacquiao D-12 Juan Manuel Marquez (May 8, 2004)
The first of four meetings in one of the all-time great boxing rivalries. Some believe this was still their best fight. I believe that you can make your case for any one of them as the best fight, really. (My favorite is the second.)
Manny Pacquiao TKO-10 Erik Morales (Jan. 21, 2006)
Pacquiao got revenge for an upset loss to Morales in 2005 with this win, where he became the first man to ever stop the ferocious Mexican legend. The win did lose a little steam, though, since Morales had lost to Zahir Raheem in the interim.
Manny Pacquiao KO-3 Erik Morales (Nov. 18, 2006)
Ten months after the rematch came the rubber match, where a brave Morales was simply overpowered by a dominant Pacquiao. Morales was being blasted with both hands and shook his head "no" with a hint of an accepting smile after the fight's third knockdown, staying on the canvas for referee Vic Drakulich's 10-count.
Manny Pacquiao SD-12 Juan Manuel Marquez (Mar. 15, 2008)
This fight happened because of a brief peace between Top Rank and Golden Boy, which saw the two promotional giants work together on a handful of fights before someone made someone else mad or whatever, and then it all went to hell again. It was a working relationship that began in October 2007 with a pointless (both on paper and in execution) rematch between Pacquiao and Barrera, but at least we did get this fight, and ultimately, the renewal of a rivalry that had so much unfinished business. There was plenty of debate about who deserved to win this one, but bottom line, it was a great fight.
Manny Pacquiao RTD-8 Oscar De La Hoya (Dec. 6, 2008)
Leaping from a one-fight stint at lightweight up to meet the generation's biggest boxing star at welterweight, Manny Pacquiao was predicted by some to have a good chance, but most felt that he would simply be overpowered by such a bigger man as De La Hoya. Instead, it was never close, as Pacquiao ripped a weight-drained and bewildered De La Hoya with speed, never giving the "Golden Boy" a chance to get into the fight. At one point, Larry Merchant of HBO Sports very honestly said, "This is getting embarrassing." And it was. De La Hoya retired after the eighth round, and has never fought again. It was the birth of a superstar.
Manny Pacquaio KO-2 Ricky Hatton (May 2, 2009)
Pacquiao dropped down to 140 to take on division ruler Hatton, who had only ever lost to Floyd Mayweather, and that was at 147. Again, it was thought to be a serious test for Pacquiao. Again, it was not. Hatton was wiped out in two rounds, as he couldn't deal with Pacquiao's speed or power. Hatton would return in 2012 with a loss, but otherwise has never fought again. For all intents and purposes, Pacquiao put Hatton out to pasture with De La Hoya.
Manny Pacquiao TKO-12 Miguel Cotto (Nov. 14, 2009)
Back at 147, Miguel Cotto figured to be a big ask of Manny Pacquiao, and for about four rounds, the fight was really competitive and really exciting. It stayed fairly exciting after that, but Manny took over and beat Cotto down over the remainder of the fight, which Kenny Bayless mercy-stopped 55 seconds into the final round with Cotto clearly looking for a way out and in there only to survive the remainder of a bout that was long lost. This may have been the absolute physical peak for Manny Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao UD-12 Antonio Margarito (Nov. 13, 2010)
The disgraced Margarito was a controversial choice by Top Rank and Bob Arum, but for Manny's second fight at Cowboys Stadium, a guy who might be able to contribute to the draw was necessary. Margarito didn't contribute to the draw, and he didn't contribute much to the fight other than he did hurt Pacquiao a little bit simply because he was so big and not physically shot, and fighting at a 150-pound catchweight, he had 17 pounds on Manny (who weighed in at 144) on fight night, and was able to absorb all of Pacquiao's shots. Of course hindsight being what it is, Margarito probably should have been pulled out, as he suffered a fracture of his orbital bone that left his right eye in no condition to fight anymore. He did, but just once, a rematch in December 2011 with Miguel Cotto, where Cotto beat up his eye and stopped him after nine. For all intents and purposes, Pacquiao put Margarito out to pasture with Hatton and De La Hoya.
Manny Pacquiao MD-12 Juan Manuel Marquez (Nov. 12, 2011)
Third fight, and the same controversy. Who deserved to win? It could have gone either way, and just like in the second fight, Manny got the nod on the judges' scorecards, Marquez complained, and there was again call for another fight.
Timothy Bradley SD-12 Manny Pacquiao (June 9, 2012)
The night boxing broke Twitter, as Pacquiao seemed to largely dominate a hobbled and seemingly ineffective Timothy Bradley over 12 rounds, only to lose via shocking split decision. Some boxing fans have still never forgiven Timothy Bradley for this fight, because they seem to believe he scored it or that he should have committed seppuku or something after it was over.
Juan Manuel Marquez KO-6 Manny Pacquiao (Dec. 8, 2012)
Fight four, new result. Both fighters were looking good but Pacquiao had seemingly taken the momentum after a right hand bomb knocked him down early in the fight, when, WHAM! Marquez blasted Pacquiao with a right hand that Pacquiao not only had to absorb just as a powerful, well-placed punch, but also while all but running into it with a full head of steam. It put Manny out cold, and marked his first clear defeat since 2005, and the first time he'd been stopped since 1999.
There are only two I want to mention, since they're recent history.
HBO chose to ignore Manny's March 2010 win over Joshua Clottey, the first fight at Cowboys Stadium. This is understandable, since the fight was awful. While Pacquiao retired or functionally retired De La Hoya, Hatton, and Margarito, Clottey all but retired himself with his non-performance in this fight.
Manny's May 2011 win over Shane Mosley isn't here because it was a Showtime pay-per-view fight. When you look back on it, can you blame Showtime for not dying to work with Top Rank or maybe even being a little bitter toward him? Richard Schaefer has mentioned this, too, and I think it's at least a legit possibility, even considering the regime change at SHO Sports since this fight came about. In the end, Arum basically used Showtime and the Pacquiao-Mosley fight as a bargaining chip to get his way at HBO, which resulted in Ross Greenburg being fired and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr being put onto HBO after years of the network dismissing him as a mediocrity with a big name, leading Chavez to headline numerous "Latin Fury" independent pay-per-views produced by Top Rank.
So what did Showtime get the time they dealt with Arum on a big fight? They got used, and they were basically conned into airing a pay-per-view fight that no one asked for and wound up being every bit the forgettable nothing most of us expected. I will still always mention James Brown, the anchor for the NFL on CBS studio show, basically apologizing on behalf of Showtime and CBS Sports for the useless fight that people had paid money to see after he and the rest of the crew sold it like it was going to be some big, competitive event.
I dunno. I'm just saying if I'm head of CBS Sports, maybe I'm not dying to work with Bob Arum again either, since he clearly regards our brand as inferior and just a thing to use against HBO when opportunity comes up. But that's all neither here nor there, I guess. HEY! This wound up way longer than I anticipated.