November 18, 2006: Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquaio was fighting Eric Morales for the third time after knocking him out in their second meeting. Pacquaio was a 2-1 favorite.
From the opening bell, Pacquaio made it clear that his knock out of the three-division world champ wasn’t a fluke. I can remember thinking it’s just a matter of time before Morales get caught with a fight-ending punch. In the third round Eric Morales was caught with a straight left hand, which knocked him to the canvas for the second time in the round. Morales looked to his corner and decided not to continue fighting. Pacquaio’s speed, power and relentless attack proved to be too much for the aging champion. After defeating Marco Antonio Barrera for the second time in 2007, no one could imagine Pacquaio’s star power getting any sweeter.
During the Barrera post fight press conference Pacquaio was challenged by Joan Guzman (27-0, 17KO), a fighter no one wanted to fight at the time, Pacquaio included. Instead, Pac Man chose to fight Juan Marquez in a long awaited rematch. Not a bad choice, although it took four years for it to happen. In their previous meeting, the fight ended in a controversial draw, where both camps claimed victory. After being knocked down in the third round, Marquez recovered and out boxed Pacquaio for the remainder of the fight. Despite landing a higher percentage and more power shots, Pacquaio was awarded a controversial split decision.
Pacquaio moved up in weight after beating Marquez and cherry picked David Diaz for his WBC light weight title, a fight everyone knew he would win. Pac Man knocked him out in the ninth round. Pacquaio didn’t defend his title at lightweight, instead he moved up yet again to welterweight. Instead of fighting a top contender, he picked Oscar De La Hoya after a poor showing against Steve Forbes.
In a non title fight De La Hoya was pummeled for eight rounds before his corner threw in the towel. During the post fight interview, Freddie Roach stated he was correct in picking Oscar because he knew Oscar couldn’t pull the trigger anymore. De La Hoya looked slow and weak the whole fight. It didn’t help to be fighting twenty pounds lighter than normal. Manny moved back down to lightweight to fight Ricky Hatton and knocked him out in the first round.
In recent history, Pacquaio has defeated Miguel Cotto after Antonio Margarito pummeled him. Then he fought Joshua Clottey after failed negotiations with Mayweather. I recently read an article by Tyler Curtis titled,”Being a Boxing Fan May Be the Hardest Thing in the World of Sports” In the article he states you have fighters winning a belt and never fighting good opponents."
Pacquaio is fighting for the vacant WBC Super Welter Weight World Title despite never fighting at super welter weight. What’s worst is he cherry picked Margarito as his opponent and, until this week, the guy didn’t even have license to fight in the U.S.
You would have to be a fool to deny Pacquaio’s great talent in the ring, but if you look carefully at his career since escaping the highly competitive super featherweight division. He has been jumping through divisions’ cherry picking the least competitive fighters in the weight class. For the casual boxing fan Pacquaio is everything boxing needs, but for many hardcore boxing fans we know why you wouldn’t fight Joan Guzman in 2007 or why you didn’t face Juan Marquez again after he beat you in 2008.
Freddie Roach has openly stated why they wouldn’t fight Shane Mosley and I quote,” because Shane Mosley is too good.” Ever since Morales passed the baton by raising Manny’s hand in their last fight, Manny hasn’t fought anyone coming off an impressive win. More times than not, his opponents were coming off of big loses. Morales after Barrera, Oscar after Floyd, Hatton after Floyd, Cotto after Margarito, and then Joshua Clottey when Miguel Cotto had already beaten him, and now Margarito after Mosley.
I understand professional boxing is also a business, but when fighters start collecting belts and never fight good opponents things start going sour.