It would be hard to blame Mexican boxing fans for disliking Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao.
After all Pacquiao, who’s widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, has done a job on Mexican fighters over the years and hopes to keep it up when he takes on Antonio Margarito Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight championship.
The 31-year old southpaw has faced and beaten some excellent boxers since turning pro in 1995, such as Ricky Hatton of England, Joshua Clottey of Ghana, and Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico. But the most impressive by far have been Mexican fighters and those of Mexican descent. These include Oscar De La Hoya, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Jorge Solis and Oscar Larios.
Pacquiao has won three titles against Mexicans/Mexican-Americans. These include Hector Velazquez, David Diaz, and Marquez and Pac-Man has defended various championship belts against them including Emmanuel Lucero and Gabriel Mira. In fact, by my count, Pacquiao is 12-1-1 against Mexican fighters with 9 KOs.
Strangely enough, Pacquiao struggled a little against Mexican boxers at first, winning only three of his first five fights against them. He fought to a 12-round draw with Marquez and lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Morales in his fourth and fifth fights against Mexicans. He would avenge those decisions though. He fought Morales twice more and knocked him out in the 10th and third rounds -- and beat Marquez by a split decision in a rematch.
In total, Pacquiao fought Barrera twice and beat him both times, beat Morales two out of three times and beat and drew with Marquez. He fought all the others just once and beat them all. Looking at the record book, it’s obvious to see that Pacquiao had the most trouble with Marquez and after 24 rounds of boxing there wasn’t a lot between them.
Interestingly enough, Pacquiao has never fought in Mexico, but has fought in areas that are well known for their Mexican influence such as San Antonio, Texas, and California. It’s safe to say his opponents had the majority of support when he fought in these locations and the same will probably be true when he takes on Margarito in Arlington.
If Margarito beats him, there’s sure to be a rematch, and if Pacquiao wins in an exciting and competitive slugfest we could also see a rematch. However, a dominating decision or KO by Pac-Man means this is probably just a one-off bout and Pacquiao will move on. It would be interesting to see him take on Marquez again in a third bout, but that could be a little difficult considering Pacquiao will likely fight at welterweight if he wins and Marquez is basically a natural lightweight.
So while it’s understandable Pacquiao may very well be the most hated boxer in Mexico at the moment, I’m sure all Mexican fans quietly respect him for his talents. It’s unlikely Pacquiao will be looking for a Mexican opponent next anyway if he beats Margarito. We all know the Filipino is trying to get American Floyd Mayweather into the ring so they can finally determine who the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world really is.